16 August 2010 | Siamois
Flat script and characters
I was looking forward to seeing director Nicolas Boukhrief's latest movie since I had enjoyed the previous one, Cortex, despite its flaws.
In Gardiens de l'ordre, Boukhrief explores once again the thriller genre, except this one is more of a classic crime flick. Julie and Simon are two cops who, responding to a seemingly routine call, end up shooting the son of a politician. At that point, they lose the support of the police department and decide to go rogue and find proof that he was under the influence of a powerful narcotic by taking the plunge into the world of drug trafficking.
Yup, if what I just wrote above sounds like a plot that stretches believability and seems to come straight out of the 80s, you've got a pretty good idea of how this movie will play out. Cécile De France stars as Julie. American audiences will recognize her from the underground horror hit "High Tension", although she also has a list of interesting credits in Europe. De France does an adequate job of portraying Julie but the writing leaves little room for character development of any sort. Fred Testot co-leads as Simon and is also unremarkable, again due to weak writing.
But what really, really kills the movie is the paper-thin plot. Starting from the very premise, you never buy what happens there, as it seems to come straight out of the 60s. In fact, it's very much as if the writers had watched too many old movies and forgot that surveillance cameras and forensic science have come a LONG way since then. At every turn of the plot, you will find yourself wondering why characters do what they do, how could two cops be dumb enough to leave such a trail of damning evidence behind them and how their colleagues can be even dumber and not figure it out.
A movie that is loose on realism has never been an obstacle to entertainment, provided it offers something else. Hollywood action, for instance, or romance, or comedy, or just strong characters you become fascinated with. Unfortunately, Gardiens de l'ordre does none of that. It really tries to play out like a procedural thriller/drama most of the time, halfway between Serpico and Rush. But it completely fails, unfortunately.
I'm very disappointed that Boukhrief couldn't improve on Cortex, which at least had some charm and mood to go with the questionable plot. This new film offers absolutely nothing new.