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One morning, Eric Vincent, a thirty-something without a past and reluctant about fatherhood, receives a phone call from a stranger proposing him to retrieve the ashes of his late father, whom he never met.
Gus (played by Guillaume Canet) suffers from narcolepsy. He falls asleep all the time and has dreams about supermen from comics (Van Damme would play one of these supermen, a short & secret appearance).
The movie follows two brothers, one on each side of the law. Gabriel is about to be released from prison and plans to stay clean, despite his rebellious nature. His brother François is a cop, struggling to belong because he was born in a hard neighborhood and in love with the wife of a criminal he put behind bars.
The movie's greatest quality is probably the setting. The late 70s truly come alive in this drama. Costumes, cars, music. The writing team also concocted the classic crime drama you would expect in the 70s and even director Jacques Maillot directs somewhat with a 70s feel, down to police procedures, chases and gunfights. A word of warning: this isn't an action flick. The movie seems content exploring the two brothers and the lives they try to build for themselves as well as the clashes between them when their lives intersect. As such, it is more of a drama than anything else.
François Cluzet (who plays bad boy Gabriel) is his usual self: excellent. His character doesn't apologize for his nature and at the same time, Cluzet is perfect in capturing the somewhat pathetic, self-victimizing nature of his character. Guillaume Canet (playing François the cop) is also good. Canet seems to have made a name for himself and stars in a lot of French movies (particularly thrillers). The rest of the large cast is more than adequate.
What prevents this superb production from a higher rating is a somewhat flat story and a botched ending. There's this impression that the writers and director may chewed more than what was needed and couldn't tie this more appropriately. It's still a fun ride but something seems to be missing at times, which is a shame since the basics are solid.
Still very worthwhile if you miss old school crime movies of the 70s and early 80s.
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