Top critical review
on April 25, 2004
Three friends (Vinz, Hubert and Sayid) are from the ghettos of France, living in the projects and there is seemingly no way out of that life for them as the society and especially the police discriminate against blacks, arabs from the projects... At least that is the message the movie seems to project to me. I had a really hard time following the things the actors say because the movie is in black and white and the subtitles are in black and white AND they overlap the movie picture... needless to say, many words are unreadable most of the time and taking the time to guess what they said is perhaps most exasperating when in this sort of low budget movie, the conversation between the characters matters A LOT! However, the movie's plot was easy enough to follow... police beat up their friend Abdel during a riot, who dies in hospital, and Vinz who is not too intelligent or able to control his temper gets ahold of a police pistol during the riot. He vows to shoot a police if they piss him off (actually he will shoot anyone who dares piss him off). These 3 boys take the train to Paris where they look for a friend who owes Sayid a bit of money. I will not go into details here but basically their voyage into Paris was a disaster as these boys from the 'hood cannot resist doing something "naughty" every hour. They miss the last train and spend the entire night finding things to amuse themselves, including breaking into people's cars and starting a fight in a classy art exhibition and also later a scuffle with skinheads in the streets. It all end in tears eventually, with at least one of them dead and maybe one police officer dead too, I shan't say who. The movie was, on the whole, thought-provoking for someone like me who grew up in an urban environment but never lived in a ghetto and can only empathise with what the central characters (or anyone else living in that situation) feels. If that's what the director set out to do, he certainly succeeded, so I am giving the movie 3 stars for making some impact. It could have been a better viewing experience however, if only something was done to make the subtitles more readable. The movie is shot in semi-documentary style so it might not appeal to those who prefer something more like your usual run-of-the-mill drama movies.