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Bastille Day

If you like high octane action films where you suspend belief on the plot this is for you. Idris  Elba plays a one man army (Briar) in Paris believing a pickpocket is not a terrorist. Young French Canadian actress Charlotte le Bon will not commit the bombing of right wing political headquarters and her paper bag containing the incendiary is lifted by the pickpocket Michael Mason (Richard Madden). The film then develops into a confrontation between French intelligence and the CIA with Briar acting as lone wolf.  That is more or less the plot though there is a twist or two and the relationship with a small time, but artful, pickpocket and a battle hardened vet is of interest. The best of the action sequences is a roof-top chase and if you enjoy the Bourne films this is your tasse de the. It conforms with current diversity standards with a smart woman in charge of the CIA Operation (Kelly Reilly) and a black american lead but both more than hold their own. Idris  Elba combines a furrowed expression with enormous athleticism. Those like me who enjoyed Spiral will recognise Thierry Godard as head of the rapid reaction group. Charlotte le Bon will further her career with her looks and  ability. I did not look at my watch after 45 minutes but equally it was not a film that I find myself pondering too much after I left the cinema.

To add my ha’pporth to at home v being there, I generally watch movies in my own time and space on my own screen. I went to the local Cineworld and had to suffer two cinema-goers behind me who produced a veritable Stockhausen symphony on crunched sweet papers,cartons of  popcorn, and sucked sweet drinks, adding their own commentary on the film. Any irritation was compensated by the film’s length of 96 minutes. The modern American  film can easily be two hours plus. The Master Alfred Hitchcock correctly observed that no film should stretch the bladder of the audience. and his films stayed around 100 minutes. This is a lesson that the modern American directors, with the honourable exception  of Woody Allen, might follow.

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About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts