A doyen of the French action genre, with films such as Pour Elle and Point Blank, director Fred Cavayé serves up yet another punchy and bloodthirsty thriller in his latest outing, Mea Culpa. With a nod to both the American and Korean action blockbuster, this classic good-guy-versus-bad-guy narrative pulsates with dynamism, intensity, suspense and pummeling pizzazz.
Simon (Vincent Lindon) and Franck (Gilles Lellouche) were partners in the Toulon police force until an intoxicated Simon was imprisoned for killing a child in a car crash. Now working as a security driver and haunted by the accident, Simon distances himself from his son Théo and former wife Alice. When Théo witnesses a gangland murder and is forced to go on the run, Simon and Franck reunite to track down the mob before they can get to Théo.
No one could accuse Cavayé of injecting notions of verisimilitude into Mea Culpa, nor does one want to. In the absence of a substantial plot, plenty of fast-paced sequences and intricately choreographed combat scenes bolstered by a frenetic musical score keep the audience enthralled in this tireless cat-and-mouse chase.
Mea Culpa is a masterclass in filmmaking and cinematography, but that is not to say that it is solely a director’s film with a penchant for glorified violence. The two lead performances create raw, flawed but highly sympathetic characters. The relentless pace of the film is nicely balanced with some emotionally charged moments, as Simon’s sensitivities begin to thaw and the burden of Franck’s dark secret weighs heavily. These are, however, mere asides to the collage of violence created by Cavayé, with headbutting and ear biting remaining, for the most part, the extent of the social niceties.
If action films with plenty of frenzied car chases, bloody gun shoot-outs and random bursts of wanton violence are your thing, or you just happen to appreciate exquisite filmmaking by a French action master, then Mea Culpa will certainly provide all the necessary thrills for a good night’s entertainment.
Mea Culpa is released nationwide on 5th December 2014.
Watch the trailer for Mea Culpa here: