of the hazards of a career in crime is the proximity to criminals. Initially, the sniper-mastermind of a small
gang of bank robbers is only concerned with keeping the cops at bay. However, he soon must contend with a shadowy
figure outside the law in Michele Placido’s The
screened last night as the closing selection of the 2012 In French with English Subtitles Film Festival in New York.
police Captain Mattei thinks he has the drop on Vincent Kaminski’s gang, but it
is the sniper-lookout who has the drop on the cops. Kaminski does his job, but it is not a clean
getaway. The married Nico has been badly
wounded. Their only option is the
disgraced suburban Dr. Feelgood, who periodically supplies morphine to gang’s
secret addict, Éric. Keep your eye on
the hail of bullets Kaminski rained down on Mattei’s men, the armed robber
could not be hotter. Nico and his
brother try to lay low and recuperate.
However, Kaminski is pinched due to a suspicious anonymous tip. Of course, no prison will hold the marksmen,
especially when he feels slightly betrayed.
certainly is not afraid of generating a body count in The Lookout. The first act
shoot-out is just a massive spectacle of flying ammunition. Yet, sensitive viewers should be warned, the
film takes a dark detour into rather shocking territory, much to the surprise
of both cops and robbers. It is not for
the delicate, but The Lookout has
some real jolts in store. Indeed, Placido
pivots into left field relatively agilely, pulling viewers along with his
ultra-slick Michael Mann style.
Kaminski, Mathieu Kassovitz broods like a monster and comes across convincingly
hardnosed, in a wiry kind of way. Daniel
Auteuil certainly knows how to play a civil servant under pressure, also acquitting
himself rather well for a middle-aged guy in the believably staged action
scenes. Olivier Gourmet is simply
chilling as the underground sawbones, in ways that would be spoilery to
explain. In fact, the large ensemble
cast of dozens all look pretty credible as either cops or robbers.
Lookout is exactly the sort
of French film that exports well, with a story that could easily be transferred
to an American city like New York without jeopardizing its dramatic
integrity. Gritty in tone but super cool
visually (thanks to cinematographer Arnaldo Catinari), The Lookout delivers for fans of Mann’s Heat and Affleck’s The Town. It ought to have a plenty of action on the
festival circuit, driven by its star power.
A strong closer, it capped three days of entertaining French Cinema
programmed by the In French with English Subtitles Film Festival, who donated
all their proceeds to the Metro New York Make-a-Wish Foundation, Entraide Française,
and Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Labels: Cop Movies, Daniel Auteuil, French Cinema, IFWES '12, Mathieu Kassovitz