this french movie could be farely matched by another cool french movie, 'train man'. but train man definitely is darker than this action packed latest release. if you have the time and energy to watch it after work, then you probably would enjoy it quite a bit. i just don't want to spoil your watching experience by detailing the details of this movie. i am just assured that you might like it instead of hating it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Deserves to be seen for the art if not for the insight it brings of the underworld in FranceJune 26 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
THE CODE (2002, LA MENTALE) has actors speaking their natural French but whose dialog was dubbed in English. There are also English subtitles, that consistently differ from the dubbed English. The target market is obviously that spoken about by the new elected French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, (former Minister of the Interior), who won the favor of many over his promises to cope with the multicultural pressures that France faces today, in large part centered in the hyper-populated suburbs of Paris.
The movie tells the story of second generation Maghrebs, who consider blue collar jobs and the 9 to 5 work routine dishonorable, preferring instead, to be their own bosses, viewing the world as seen in some regions 800 years ago, carrying out hijackings of 18 wheeler TIR trucks carrying commodities and reselling them, or looting armored bank vans carrying loads of cash, etc. Thus, actors Samy Naceri and Samuel Le Bihan play the roles of gangsters, running their own operations, ranging form narco-trafficking, import to dealing in the street with their own city blocks in the city to protection rackets, high end car thefts, etc. This is confirmed when we hear "It's the dough that makes the man!"
The script puts a lot of effort in underlining the personal lives of the mobsters, showing a birthday celebration, a woman mulling over her rocky relationship and pregnancy, coping with infidelity, etc. In this regards, a night club is the center of ultimate joy when friends gather, perhaps juvenile as an outlook. While there are many high-five human moments, party scenes, this movie is ultra-violent, with a number of gun fire-fights, spontaneous murders, and vocabulary typical of the underworld.
An ex-con tries to start a new life, stemming from his penal system experience and affection for a woman of outside his religious faith (Maometanism) and tribe (gypsy, Maghreb, etc.) This causes tensions among former partners in crime and by ex-girlfriend, who have a lot to stand losing in letting the man step outside the clan.
The action scenes are well done, with the balaclavas and machine guns, packed clips, both indoors and outdoors, showing plenty of realism, by the well understood implications of the behavior shown, such as bleakness, violence, egomaniac behavior seen in the gang, and the overall lack of principles such that, it's a race to the bottom to see who has less character and principles, when there's a confrontation, who is the easiest on the trigger.
Some scenes could have been done a lot better, such as the spontaneous physical love scenes or embraces that come about without context, that are non-sequitur. The complete lack of law enforcement is also dumbfounding.
Some bizarre moments are shown, such as a woman pulling a stash of jewelry from her underpants.
The cultural life is underlined, referencing cuscus, Maometanism for the deceased at the cemetary, the prayer when confronted with imminent danger, the ghetto that they belong to, for friends, companionship and work.
The DVD offers a good quasi-widescreen presentation, with very good 5.1 sound, surprisingly, considering the dubbed English dialog.
The soundtrack is very good and professional, as well, ranging from acoustic, gypsy-style numbers, to very low-profile music that doesn't distract from the story.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Disappointingly Bland French Noir, Starring Samuel Le BihanFeb. 20 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
Columbia Tristar presents French caper thriller 'The Code' ('La Mentale') produced by famous French film company Goumont Pictures, which brought us gripping 'The Crimson Rivers.' several years ago. So, while watching 'The Code,' I was pretty thrilled to see the company's logo, but soon the film proved a big disappointment. A very big one.
The film stars Samuel Le Bihan (the hero of entertaining actioner 'Brotherhood of the Wolf') as Dris, who once served time in prison and now is working at factory. To him, old friend Yanis (Samy Naceri, the likeble taxi driver in the original 'TAXI' series) comes, asking him to join in the next heist plans, promisng a big score.
But Dris's devoted and ill-used girl-friend is not happy at all, especially when he meets not only his ex-pals at a noisy party, but his sexy ex-love who again comes in on to him. And Dris has a young brother who admires the life of gangsters, and does not listen to Dris's sincere advice.
THE PROBLEM with the film is now clear. It is so cliche-ridden that you can detect the next move the film so easily. Is Dris wise enough to reject the temping offer of the nice guy Yanis, or the devilishly seductive former girlfriend? You know it, of course.
Another irritating thing is the style of direction, which is not all bad, but good either. It is simply bland. And to make the film more dull, the characters are not compelling enough, lacking the definite touch of the uniqueness or reality. What is left in the film is the insipid plot about the gangsters who are not interesting, and the heist that is not thrilling.
Did Columbia Pictures buy many French titles to release them in USA and other English-speaking countries? If so, we simply welcome that decision. But please, not this tasteless gangster film, which should have been left behind.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
La Mentale LamentableNov. 15 2004
John C. Allan
- Published on Amazon.com
This is run-of-the-mill gangster schlock, pretty much on the level of TV crime dramas. All the stock locations are here: birthday party, sex club, meat locker, etc. As are the stock characters: Mr. Tryingtogostraight, Ms. Seductivetemptress, Mr. Homicidalsociopath. The only one missing is Mr. Crookedcop! The acting is laughable. Samuel Le Bihan's dark hair and makeup certainly do not an Arab make. It would seem he took lessons at the BBC Institute of Smirk and Grimace Acting. The rest of the cast is wooden and forgettable. And the plot is as full of holes as a Gruyere cheese. It's truly a shame that the French believe they have to imitate the predictable dumbed-down badguy junk that Hollywood churns out year after year. The only difference is that the French mob is dressed by stylish couturiers!!
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very good realistic gangster movieSept. 8 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This is not the hollywood type of gangster's movies. This is the reality. Very good acting and realistic dialogue and action. Of copurse, a n US citizen cannot understand that movie at all, because the culture is very diferent. Let's say that Europe has a culture ans the US do not have one yet. That film must be play in French and you much known very well French to understand what's going on and what those guys have in their mind. You cannot dub a movie like this. It's impossible. It's also impossible to understand those people if you did not live with them. I am Belgian, speak French and I was 3 months a year in France on vacation and business too. It's the reason why Americans do not like French. It's because they do not understand eachother. French like Sicilians are mean people. Americans still childish. The film is very good. But you must be able to understand the EU culture. I give 5 stars because, I think like them and that the way that Europeans are.