Trilogy 1: On the Run

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Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts

Starring: Catherine Frot, Lucas Belvaux, Dominique Blanc, Ornella Muti, Gilbert Melki

Director: Lucas Belvaux

The first part of 3 (hence the giveaway name of THE TRILOGY) Lucas Belvaux’s French film cycle attempts 3 different themes in 3 different genres, fear, laughter, and tears through the genre of thriller, comedy, and melodrama respectively. Minor characters in this first film will take the forefront in the subsequent 2 films to tell their own stories in a narrative based on concentric circles, and although all 3 films are intended to make one whole, they can be viewed independently.

This introductory helping of a thriller based on fear follows loose cannon and violent escaped prisoner, Bruno Le Roux, on the run. He’s the most dangerous and armed member of the Armee Populaire, a proletarian revolution group who, 15 years ago when Bruno was put away, may have had a cause to fight. But now as he tries to hook up with old comrades to carry on the mission, things have changed, not only for his comrades who don’t believe in the fight any more, but also for the world.

His former accomplice Jeanne has a husband and a child and his pals are either dead or still in prison. With his terrorist agenda, the theme is somewhat topical as Bruno fires and blows his way to serve what he believes is his cause, alone, although he has somewhat lost sight of what his cause might be. But it soon becomes apparent that what Bruno is now battling for is his own survival in a world where everyone is baying for his blood as he goes on an increasingly senseless rampage. He has the added complication of having become a liability to the local godfather Jacquillat, whom he used to trade favours with but who now trades favours with police inspector Pascal instead.

Bruno strikes up a sympathetic relationship with Agnes, Pascal’s desperate drug addict wife, which draws them into a mutual, desperate understanding. She can hide him in her friend’s house, and he can get her drugs. United by their sense of fear at the world and those around them (they are both in a sense alone in the world – it’s revealed that Agnes’ husband beats her and is her former drug supplier, although no-one will supply her any more) and combat it in the only way they know how – him with violence, her with drugs.

Whilst this doesn’t really hold a candle to Kieslowski’s THREE COLOURS trilogy, the first instalment is a tight enough thriller, a little slow to warm up although never less than interesting with Belvaux’s sensitive portrayal of Bruno at its heart. We never see Bruno attempt to carry out his original pledge of blasting his mates out of prison though, either an oversight or perhaps because of his immediate need to determine his own survival first and foremost.

4 out of 6 stars