Theoretically, the films in writer/director Belvaux's momentous Trilogy can be seen in any order, but this taut thriller makes the best possible introduction to its weave of stories in contemporary Grenoble. Belvaux himself takes the central role as the steely Bruno, an unrepentant terrorist just escaped from prison and determined to continue the bombing campaign he'd initiated 15 years earlier, even though the hard left rhetoric which prompted such extreme actions is now a historical anachronism. Building to his next attack, he keeps one step ahead of the law and receives assistance from an unlikely source - Agnès (Blanc), the morphine addicted wife of Pascal (Melki), the cop trying to bring him in. This study in fanaticism is timely, and if Belvaux acknowledges some sympathy for core anti-capitalist ideals, he certainly doesn't endorse their violent implementation. What draws us in, however, is the film-maker's keen understanding of audience fascination with the outlaw operator. With a palette of restrained blue-grey, and functionalist direction generating compelling involvement in Bruno's meticulous planning, the proceedings acquire a gripping intensity, despite our rational misgivings over the outcome. It's like watching the best film Jean-Pierre Melville never made, and as such is probably the most successful stand alone item in the Trilogy.
Cast and crew