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France 2007
Directed by
Olivier Marchal
126 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


MR73 is the final part of Olivier Marchal's policier trilogy and follows Gangsters (2002) and 36 Quai des Orfèvres  (2006). Thematically it’s familiar stuff – a burnt-out cop struggling to cope with a personal tragedy and a drinking problem seeks redemption from his sense of guilt by pursuing bad men while his corrupt colleagues look on and mock.

Daniel Auteuil (who also starred in Quai des Orfèvres) is the cop, Louis Schneider. His daughter has died in a car accident which has left his wife a vegetable. He’s been demoted for drunken behaviour but there’s a serial killer on the loose and he’s the only one in his precinct with enough commitment to pursue the case. Running parallel to this story is one of Schneider’s earlier cases, another serial killer who is being paroled, much to the horror of the daughter (Olivia Bonamy) of one of his victims.

Marchal is primarily a genre stylist and he does a fine job here in portraying the dark side that is Schneider’s world - low light, desaturated colours, bleak exteriors, constant rain are used effectively to create the sense of moral turpitude whilst the story deals with acts of sadistic violence. If Michael Mann was Marchal's reference point in the earlier film, here it would seem to be David Fincher. Auteuil, unshaven and unkempt, his eyes hidden behind coloured glasses gives an outstanding performance as the broken man, whose few strands of hope are slowly being torn away by everyone around him.

All this is well done although the sub-plot with Olivia Bonamy in a dodgy blond wig is too clearly designed to leaven proceedings  and so broaden audience appeal and the latter part of the film suffers from some rather hurried loose-end resolving that undermines the intense engagement that is the film’s greatest strength.

DVD Extras: None

Available from: Madman




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