To the Ends of the World (Les Confins du Monde)
Indochina, 1945. The Việt Minh are fighting to liberate their country from the grips of the French colonial power in a violent and gruesome guerilla war. French soldier Robert Tassin (Gaspard Ulliel) narrowly escapes an attack on his first day on the ground and subsequently vows to find the illusive offending commander Vo Binh and exact his revenge. This is where we begin. In the jungles of Vietnam and in the midst of war.
What makes To the Ends of the World superb are the phenomenal acting performances. The audience was joined by director Guillaume Nicloux and the principal cast members prior to the start of the screening and one of the unanimous sentiments expressed was how unique the production was in terms of the location and the experience. Indeed, they’re out there in the jungle trekking through the adversity and living the hell that one can only imagine war would equate to. Ulliel and Guillaume Gouix as his friend, Cavagna, hit the mark; they’re not just war-buddies, they’re brothers. It’s the kind of on-screen chemistry that’s necessary for the success of a film in this genre. Lang Khê Tran is quietly stunning as Maï and delivers a performance which honours all of the voiceless women affected by the war; Gérard Depardieu portrays a paternal figure for Robert as Saintonge.
The only area in which To the Ends of the World is lacking to put it over the edge into classic territory is for a touch more originality. Yes, it’s a spectacular film with many spectacular elements; particularly, the coursing of the dramatic beats is spot-on. Quick and jarring in the right moments – and allowing for a little more time to breathe in others – the general mise-en-scène hits the perfect delicate balance of appropriately gory considering the subject matter; it’s never gratuitous. But, we’ve certainly all seen a Western war movie set in Southeast Asia with a secondary love plot weaved in. To the Ends of the World is absolutely worth the watch and will more than likely impress, but it probably won’t surprise its viewers.
To the Ends of the World (Les Confins du Monde) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for To the Ends of the World (Les Confins du Monde) here: