Le Fidèle (Racer and the Jailbird)London Film Festival 2017
4th October 2017 6.00pm at Vue West End
5th October 2017 2.15pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
7th October 2017 2.45pm at Ciné Lumière
Take Need for Speed to Belgium, pull back the reins on the unrealistic stunts and introduce a little more realism into the plot. This is Racer and the Jailbird. The third feature instalment from director Michael Roskum reveals an enigmatic web of interpretations of one specific event and the years previous to and following it. For his third film, Roskum turned to Belgian Flemish actor Matthias Schoenaerts, whom he had previously worked with on The Drop and Bullhead to play one half of his protagonist duo Gigi and Bibi. With the addition of the sensuous Adele Exarchopoulos filling the other shoe, Racer and the Jailbird becomes a thrilling story of lies, deceit and sexual unification.
A blood-stained child is running from the authorities. The reason as to why is yet to be revealed, but with dogs biting at his heals, he is willed on to escape from his pursuers. Flash-forward 20 years, and the little boy Gigi has grown into a handsome and charismatic man. He charms racing driver Bibi into a date, and the pair soon become a couple, but all is not saintly between them. Gigi is hiding something, something he is either too ashamed or too scared to reveal. With an inability to be honest and a fear of dogs, he must try and hold those he loves close to him whilst surrendering to who he is. All the while, Bibi must fight her own personal battles whilst trying to keep their jigsaw of a relationship together.
The film is split into three acts, with one dedicated to the two protagonists, and the third to the fallout. The onscreen chemistry between Schoenearts and Exarchopulos is exhilarating to observe, and makes a legitimacy between their characters stronger than expected. Both Gigi and Bibi are thrill seekers, and finding a way to tame their urges through various outlets. But despite these differences the two are incarnate of each other, and the unity between them leads to an emotional climax at the end of each chapter.
Between comedic lines, the movie is littered with metaphors that summarises the lives of Gigi the Jailbird and Bibi the Racer, and the ending offers an escape that brings these together. The issue with the film is that each action that occurs has no definitive outcome, particularly the final scene. This lack of closure is again another metaphor that perhaps is not entirely required, and raises questions over the point of incidents that take place earlier on in the picture. Yet still, Racer and the Jailbird is a thrilling watch with two very likeable leading roles, and when considering what the concept is, Roskum, Schoenaerts and Exarchopoulos certainly make a valiant effort at providing an entertaining and action-packed ride.
Le Fidèle (Racer and the Jailbird) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch a clip from Le Fidèle (Racer and the Jailbird) here: