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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Rebellion (L’ordre et la morale) review

Rebellion L'ordre et la morale yellow light Mathieu Kassovitz

Sporadically exciting French action drama about a 1988 hostage crisis drags more often than it should.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Who is a terrorist, and who is a freedom fighter? This based-on-fact action drama about a 1988 hostage crisis in a tropical French colony, when local separatists took over a police station, focuses tightly on procedural as military negotiator Mathieu Kassovitz works to extract those captured while doing to his best to avoid further radicalizing the locals. Perhaps the focus on the procedure is too tight: the film often gets bogged down in it. Some bits are quite good, however: Kassovitz, delivering more as star and director than as writer, gives us a chaotic jungle battle scene that presents the illusion of a seamless single take; and running motifs of politics and media threatening the negotiations are deftly handled. A bit of judiciously editing was needed, perhaps, to tighten it all up.

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watch at home

Rebellion (L’ordre et la morale) (2013)
UK/Ire release: Apr 19 2013

BBFC: rated 15 (contains strong threat, violence and language)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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