Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Crimson Rivers

Crimson Rivers
This is one of my favourite film of all times.
Commissaire Pierre Niémans, a legendary police detective and criminology teacher from Paris is sent to Guernon to investigate a sadistic murder. The badly mutilated body found in a mountain high in the French Alps could be the work of serial killer. The autopsy reveals that the victim was alive during the torture and each cut was placed with great care to augment the pain. As Niémans begins his investigation 150 kilometers away in Sarzac, Lieutenant Max Kerkerian investigates the desecration of a tomb belonging to a young girl killed in an accident and a theft in a local school. The seemingly unrelated cases eventually converge and the investigators forced to work together to unravel the maze of mystery.
As the legendary criminologist and the former car thief (in Jean-Christophe Grangé's novel, Les Rivières pourpres, the police man is former car thief Karim Abdouf, who was transferred from Paris to the provincial Sarzac, get it?) huddled together, there are some uneasiness in their relationship. Niémans is a loner and Kerkerian is hot blooded yet the clues made them forget their differences and they relies heavily on each other to find the missing pieces of this great big puzzle. Everyone is a suspect even the exclusive University of Guernon which hopes to create superior human beings through eugenics.
Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, Crimson Rivers is a classic whodunit and a pleasant return to police thrillers. Shut up, it's not Bullitt and Jean Reno is not Steve McQueen.
I would say it reminds me a lot of Derrick, my favourite German detective series and Jean Reno's character is similar to that of Horst Tappert's Chief Inspector and you might think the character is a bit similar to Brother William of Baskerville, the investigator monk of Umberto Eco's brilliant novel Name of the Rose.
I have heard a lot of comments that Crimson Rivers is a Se7en clone but that is so unlike, as both are outstanding criminological thrillers in its own kind. As I was saying, Jean-Christophe Grangé's book was safe in Kassovitz's hands as he adapted it to the silver screen with great care and precision.
Jean Reno is born to play Commissaire Niémans, those who remember him in Léon, the Professional; his superb performance as the cynophobic criminologist Niémans is no surprise. Vincent Cassel and Nadia Fares are terrific in their respective roles too.
There are some grisly visceral scenes in the movie like mutilated corpses and autopsy dissection but don't worry you won't puke as these scenes are necessary parts of the story. What more, when you think of Crimson Rivers, you will be thinking of the beautiful Guernon and Sarzac countryside and the spectacular French Alps. The scenic beauty of the Southern France is mesmerizing.
Unlike most reviewers, I like the ending too, where Niémans telling Kerkerian about the reason of his dog phobia as the camera panning away. After watching the movie more than 50 times, I wish to see it again and I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone, irrespective of their tastes, this one movie has something to offer to everyone. Okay, now you know - I am biased about the movie Crimson Rivers, I won't find any fault in this particular movie.
Vincent Cassel broke his nose while filming the fight scene at the neo-nazi club and the ophthalmologist
Dr. Bernard Chernezé in the movie is none other than Vincent Cassel's father Jean-Pierre Cassel.
See Also Blood Red Rivers, Crimson Rivers 2

The Crimson Rivers (US title)
Les Rivières pourpres (French title)

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Cast: Jean Reno, Vincent Cassel, Nadia Farès, Jean-Pierre Cassel

Year: 2000

Genere: Mystery/Thriller

Runtime: 106 min

Country: France

Language: French (Dubbed to English)

Cyril's Rating: Excellent


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