Rebellion - Blu-ray Review

'the spearing of the off screen politicians as this film's bad guy give Kassovitz dramatic licence to absolve everyone else on screen'

Mathieu Kassovitz has found an interesting and compelling story on his return to French cinema with Rebellion, after an ill-fated sojourn to Hollywood, which produced only Gothika and Babylon A.D. Rebellion is set largely on the French territory of Ouvea Island, New Caledonia, where, in 1988, a small group of revolutionaries killed three policemen and took several others from their station hostage, in an ill-fated attempt to push a separatist agenda.

To say that France's reaction was stern is an understatement: a phalanx of soldiers were sent in, a military mobilisation on French soil on an unprecedented scale. Amongst them, a small band of a police special forces unit, led by Captain Philippe Legorjus (Kassovitz), attempt to secure calm in a more measured way.

Unsurprisingly, given his film-making history, the blame for what unfolds from those events is laid by Kassovitz at the feet of the politicians, pushing for a quick solution, whatever that solution is, under the shadow of a pending election. Rebellion makes a compelling case for the prosecution of a political axes, far away from the events that unfold, but at the same time, it's one track mind damages it, particularly as it approaches the conclusions. The spearing of the off screen politicians as this film's bad guy give Kassovitz dramatic licence to absolve everyone else on screen, at least in part, for their contribution to what unfolded. Even the one politician who is here is granted a 'it's out of my hands' brush off, as blame moves somewhere more comfortable.

In the actual plot stakes then, Rebellion feels flawed because of its off screen antagonists, though it is more successful in other areas. The documenting of what it feels like and means to be a citizen, for example, is something vividly brought to life by the director and star, whose character is used as a cypher for a changing approach to sympathies towards the Kanak separatists.

Other elements too, work well. The choice of Kassovitz to give the lead part to himself feels a little biased but Legorjus' character, as portrayed by the director, feels more journalist than policeman, something which works. There are a handful of aerial and ground shots of the impenetrable terrain - very unlike urban France - which work to convey the difference between the locations, something which is key to understanding some of the notions the director suggests. If only the rest of the film, which can sometimes feel a little too cheap, looked as good, then maybe Kassovitz could have been on to something even better.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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