Kimberly S. from UKIAH, CA Reviewed on 9/27/2010...
Intersting, not as gorey as I suspected.
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Stunning and atmospheric gothic French "policier"
Richard Lewis | London, UK | 08/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"(This review relates to the French special edition release in THX. French title: Les Rivieres Pourpres) From the second the film starts, it is evident that France's Matthieu Kassovitz is more than capable of taking-on Hollywood in directing a stunning gothic chiller complete with a first class THX sound track. A badly mutilated body is found high in the Alps. The local police acquire the help of "special" police investigator, Pierre Niemans (Jean Reno), whose intent becomes not just to discover *who* committed the murder but also *why* it was committed. Simultaneously, a young Arab policeman, Karim Abdouf (played by Vincent Cassel of "La Haine"), living some 200km away is called in to investigate the desecration of a little girl's grave and a local school break-in. Both policeman are drawn slowly to the same potential perpetrator, discover two further murders and uncover a terrifying secret behind the murders. I bought the film yesterday in a French supermarket and I've already watched it three times. The style of the film, the photography and camera-work, the music, the twists and turns of the plot all make this a brilliant film. The actors are perfectly cast, with Jean Reno presenting a softer more thoughtful character than in the book of the same name whilst Vincent Cassel displays the edge of racial anger that was so visible in La Haine. The ending will probably generate a lot of discussion as to what exactly it means but, if the film is released in the same special edition form as in France, the additions on the second disc provide a level of insight rarely seen in other special edition DVDs - and supply that elusive answer! Buy it as soon as it is released!"
Just like your favorite horror/thriller book on a TV screen
- Kasia S. | New York City | 06/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Watching this movie made me think of what a wonderful book it would make! It had mystery, gruesome murders, great humor, action, fantastic landscape of the Alps and it was twists and turns of intrigue and a guessing game of "who did it?" But don't get me wrong, I loved it as a movie, just that it reminds me of the type of horror books I always read.
Jean Reno has always been one of my favorite actors, his cold stare, that pointy nose, the sarcasm and that ticking brain are always a great pairing when he plays a cop on a trail of hot murders. He is joined in this movie by Vincent Cassel who was brilliant in Brotherhood of The Wolf but he was insanely witty and funny while kicking some criminal booty in this one. As the viewer we get to see these two cops who start of working on two separate cases come together smack center in a middle of a mystery. Reno follows a slew of mutilated corpses with no eyes and their hand cut off while Cassel investigates a tomb disgraced by spray painted swastikas. It seems that the girl who was dead is walking among the living but that is not entirely the case. And when Reno runs into someone who looks just like the dead girl things get even trickier. The person who they search for is both a target and a suspect.
The concept of "Crimson Rivers" and it's sequel ; "Crimson Rivers, Angels of Apocalypse" is very interesting. It has to do with purification of the blood, and of breeding "perfect" human species. How that is tied to this story is not something I can tell, for spoiling a movie or a book is a huge crime!
All I can say is that the views of the Alps are breathtaking, the action is tight, there's fighting and chases, and so many twists and turns in the mystery that the end is a sweet reward. Fun movie if you want to spend a nice afternoon in from of the TV, wrapped in a warm blanket watching the snowy scenery and solving the puzzle along with our heroes. I would also recommend the sequel which I watched twice all ready which was even better but very different in comparison to they way this was done."
Probably the best thriller of the year
stevengough | 07/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This classy cop buddy movie is a rare treat, something we don't see often enough in the all-stodge-patty age of the MacGibson franchise. It's been a long time since I enjoyed a film this much. One word of warning, though, it's a French language film released in the UK with subtitles so if you don't speak French or read faster than people talk you're wasting your time.The plot has a veneer of intelligence, boosted by the quality of the direction and photography, and seductive use of the fabulous, "wish you were here" French mountain scenery. Two cops follow separate paths to the same murder victim's front door. One trail follows the film's signature grotesque serial killings and the other a seemingly random series of minor real-world crimes. Tension builds in the increasingly Gothic atmosphere of the isolated mountain town, relieved neatly with each switch to the younger cop's urban investigation. The story weaves each cop's story up to their inevitable meeting, clash of wills, and a partnership based on grudging respect. The worst you can say is there's a slightly Scooby Doo ending as the sinister forces at work are exposed.Jean Reno rumbles through the part of Neimans, the cerebral legend-in-his-own-time with a handy line in kicking down doors, like an on-form Nick Nolte with all the screen presence Sean Connery has forgotten. Vincent Kassel is great value as action-man Max, the reluctant partner, a young urban maverick cop driven by unexpected Catholic guilt. Reno gets the best deal, ambling from one no-holds-barred grotesque corpse to the next, but Kassel isn't short-changed in his edgy quest to solve a 20-year-old child killing. Kassel's stand-out scene is a kick-ass martial arts duel with a skinhead gang, mirroring the game-console beat-em-up tournament he interrupts. Reno's stand-out scene is .... well, any of them.Things get a bit Holloywood at the end, and the conclusion is all very unlikely, but the journey is so good you can forgive the deja-vu when you arrive. I wish I had time to see it again!"
A Red Ominous River Runs in White Snow; Good, Moody Thriller
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 04/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Crimson Rivers" is touted by some as an answer to "Se7en" from French cinema industry. Actually, though it shares some aspects of that Hollywood sleeper hit, "The Crisom Rivers" is a fast-paced, exciting movie, adapted from the bestselling novel of the same title by Jean-Christophe Grange (published in 1998), who wrote the screenplay of this hit movie in France, and is later to write for super-cool action "Vidocq," again a hit there in 2001. Oh, but that's another story, and wait for its release.Anyway, "The Crimson Rivers" traces the two cops' investigations one after the other, both of which point to one secluded university in the snow-capped Alps. One crackerjack cop sent from Paris (but easily terrified by a dog) Jean Reno encounters a case about a horribly cut body while angry and dissatisfied younger cop Vincent Cassel follows a seemingly minor case about a desecrated grave of a girl killed by accident 20 years ago. These two cases, however, gradually lead them to one deadly secret among the cloistered society, a secret with "Les Rivieres Pourpres."The story is always engaging, if a bit confusing sometimes, and the terrific leads are great assets of the film. Though the ending of the film sounds too incredible (and it reminded me of that of one Steven Seagal movie), the chain of thrilling actions and breathtaking photography never fails to entertain us. Probably the best thing you get in this film is its stertlingly moody cinematography with gloomy atomosphere done by Thierry Arbogast (famous for "The Fifth Element" and other Besson films). The images of morbidly real dead bodies and vivid white of snow on the high mountains will long remain in your mind after watching this great work.As far as its story is concerned, "The Crimson Rivers" may be thought as an imitaion of the likes of "Se7en" and other Hollywood thrillers, but the total touch of the film is different. For all some gory scene, the film has less sinister impressions thanks to the believable humane portrayals of two leads and Cassel's fine kung-hu action. Not a classic, but still more engrossing than many average thrillers.The director Mathieu Kassovitz, known for his acclaimed work as a director "Hate," is, of course, now remembered as an actor who played 'Nino,' the love of charming and lovely Amelie. His father, Peter Kassovitz, is the director of Robin Williams's "Jakob the Liar.""
Better than average Jean Reno thriller. Muddy writing.
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 12/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`The Crimson Rivers' directed by Mathiew Kassovitz is a French thriller starring Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel. This movie should establish, along with Luc Besson's `La Femme Nikita', that the French are just a bit better than average at doing action thrillers, especially if they include Jean Reno in the cast, as he seems to be the French version of George Cloony, day old scruffy beard and all. I got this film based entirely on the fact that he was the lead actor in the cast and that it was obviously a police thriller, as this is his primary forte. I first appreciated his performance when he appeared in the title role of `The Professional' as a hit man for hire. I am less interested in his roles as the French actor of choice in American movies such as `Godzilla', 'Mission Impossible', and `French Kiss'. And, while her part is very small, I was delighted to find Mme. Dominique Sanda in this movie. She has always been a favorite of mine and she seems to be in all too few movies.
This movie is in French with good English subtitles. The essential director's commentary is also in French with English subtitles. It is in this commentary where the director reveals how important Reno is in French films. It also confirms several of my observations about the fact that while most of the movie was shot in winter, several scenes were all to obviously done in Spring or early Summer, even though they occurred in the film but a day before the winter scenes in the snow.
My reaction in the first half of the movie is that this is really terrific stuff. Maybe not quite as good as the excellent thriller, `Seven' with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacy, but engaging nonetheless. The story starts out with two independent police cases in a small town in the French Alps. The first investigation has brought in Reno's character as a Paris expert on serial criminals to this small town. A local up and coming detective who has recently been promoted to lieutenant is investigating the second case. About halfway through the film, the two run into one another, compare notes, and discover they are working on two aspects of the same case.
In the commentary, the director notes that the novel from which the story was adapted spends a lot of time establishing the nature of Reno's character, but the film doesn't need to, as all this is taken care of by the fact that Reno is playing the role. This is actually one of the first problems I found with the exposition. The brief on the DVD jacket describes Reno's character as an expert in serial killers, but the case on which he is offering help has not yet established itself as a serial killing case. It is even odder that the local detective in charge of the first case does not know Reno is coming or anything of his reputation with the Paris police. The exact nature of his reputation is even less clear due to his rather direct approach to kicking down doors of houses where he wants entry. One thing that hundreds of hours of watching `CSI' have taught us is that good cops tiptoe around a suspected crime scene, if they enter at all, let alone the need to get a warrant to enter a private house.
I will stay away from discussing the resolution of the story lines, but I believe that in spite of how well the story builds up the groundwork of the two cases and the motives of the ultimate perps, I really don't think the underlying basis for the perp's motive is explored enough. Part of it is told, but once the writers open the subject, they leave the explanation in pieces on the table, without really putting it all together. One example is the fact that the medical examiners find acid rainwater in the first victim's eye sockets while there has not been any acid rain in the area for many years. The story offers an explanation of where such water may have come, but the circumstances around finding the first vic are inconsistent with that explanation.
Still, one can be seduced into enjoying the movie overall due to the great technique used to build, then unravel the suspense. In comparison, Dario Argento's `The Card Player' seems a bit amateurish. And, Reno's presence holds your attention, even though his part is less convincing as a police officer than the local investigator played by Cassel.
However good this movie is, its weaknesses make one appreciate how good movies such as `Seven' are. They not only end with a great surprise, every step along the way is logical and consistent with our image of how good police investigators really work.
As long as you disengage your critical judgment a bit, this is as good or better than a good, but not great American thriller. It is certainly not as good as `La Femme Nikita', but it is better than `Wasabi', another Reno vehicle I have seen. "