Dead in FranceCultureCinemaMovie reviews
A film about making a killing, both financially and literally, Dead in France is a self-confessed French noir film full of English people…
In trying to recreate Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels comes Dead in France, a film so saturated in Ritchie and Tarantino imitation that it borders on the ludicrous. However, fitting into the crime/comedy genre (increasingly popular at the moment), Dead in France – a story about a contract killer – “hits” all the right notes on the gore front, and provides some great comic interjections too.
Starring relatively unknown actors, Dead in France follows the story of hitman Charles (Brian Levine) in his quest to end his current, morbid lifestyle. To do this, Charles must complete his 100th kill first, and then, he is free to walk away. Or so he believes…
The trouble begins when Charles phones his rival, Clancy (Kate Loustau), to divulge his plans to retire. Incensed, and interrupted during a contract, Clancy vows to hunt Charles down. In the mean time, Charles’ nest-egg of £2million is stolen by a couple of conmen from the boot of his car. The delays Charles faces in leaving his profession serve up as chapters in the overall film, which, despite its seemingly complex storyline, is in fact straightforward to follow.
Additional characters adding to the comic line-up are Lisa (Celia Muir, who won Best Supporting Actress at the 2012 Los Angeles Summer Cinema Film Festival for her role) and Denny (Darren Bransford, who won the Best Supporting Actor for his role, at the same Film Festival). Lisa, the Essex cleaner, has a no-nonsense attitude that appeals to Charles. Left in charge of Charles’ rented villa in Cote d’Azur whilst he completes his work in France, Lisa and her unpredictable, soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend Denny start their own con: subletting his villa for instant cash.
The film’s entirety is played out in black and white. This adds the tiniest sense of class or art-house, although this is immediately snatched away by the poor use of CGI and the gore-shots. Saying that, the balance overall is equalled out with the hilarious dialogue, the awkward conversations, and Charles’ stilted, socially-wanting character juxtaposed with Lisa’s eccentric disposition, complemented with a common dialect – a mismatched pair right from their first meeting.
Even if you don’t take Dead in France seriously, it is so easy to catch yourself comparing it to films of the same genre. Quirky characters, an integration of comedy and crime, and a heap of chapters making up one compilation film – Dead in France definitely reeks of Ritchie and Tarantino. It is however pleasant and surprisingly funny, and for that it is worth watching once.
Dead in France is released in the UK on the 20th August.
Watch the trailer here: