Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Crimson Rivers

Two French cops and their seemingly unconnected and bizarro cases converge in spectacularly far-fetched fashion.  Jean Reno (Leon) is a living-legend Paris inspector venturing to a countryside college town to investigate the grisly torture and killing of a Ph.D student. The murdered monsieur was found in a glacier that looms over the college, bound in the fetal position, missing both hands and both eyes, with acid-rain in his eye-sockets. I shit you not.

Meanwhile, Vincent Cassel (Eastern Promises) is smoking a joint on duty, and sets out to investigate the desecration of a tomb for a girl who's been dead since '82.  The case leads him to the dead girl's school, a convent, a group of kick-boxing skinheads, and eventually to the sleepy little college town where he teams up with Leon.

The story is ludicrous. There's a crazy blind nun who sees demons, a group of incestuous, fascist intellectuals, a Nazi breeding ground, and an avalanche.  I liked the beginning, the early characterization of both detectives and their initial investigations, but it quickly turns into a muddled made-for-tv mess of a film, with poor dialogue (even by French standards) and an over-dramatic score, saved only by not-surprisingly strong performances by both leads.  Think Boys From Brazil meets Cliffhanger.  I was never bored, but never dazzled.

Tomatometer:  68%
Netflix Est.:3.0/5
Rating: 3/5 (I'd probably give it a 2.5 if Netflix allowed, but if I have to round I'll round up)

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