Crime fiction has lengthy been fascinated by the fuzzy line between crooked cops and the criminals they’re meant to chase. The brand new French movie “Rogue Metropolis” tramples it, positing that corruption is pervasive and we stay in a hopeless, brutal world from which there is no such thing as a escape. It’s a bleak imaginative and prescient that makes Olivier Marchal’s film radical in its nihilism.
Sadly, “Rogue Metropolis,” which is streaming on Netflix, can also be an ineffectual muddle. That is considerably stunning coming from Marchal, a former police officer turned writer-director who displayed storytelling chops whereas exploring murky ethical quandaries in each options like “36th Precinct” and entertainingly gonzo collection like “Braquo.” Right here it’s arduous to inform what’s happening — and, by extension, care — in a conflict between rival police factions and rival gangs duking it out in Marseille. (The unique title is “Bronx,” the borough title having grow to be French slang for a messy state of affairs.)
Apart from a perfunctory early assault on a bar, Marchal makes do with out set items: no ratcheting of stress, no elaborate chases (not even by foot, regardless of the tantalizing presence of David Belle, a key figure of parkour and the star of the cult film “District B13”). As a substitute, we get … not a lot in any respect.
Lannick Gautry is broodingly good-looking because the designated lead, Richard Vronski — that is the type of thriller that incorporates a dialog about “Anna Karenina” and units a gunfight to a baroque aria. However the half is a strolling cliché and Gautry barely stands out in a sea of grim dudes wearing black.
Extra attention-grabbing are the beloved veterans who fill key supporting roles: Jean Reno as a grizzled police chief; Gérard Lanvin as a grizzled clan boss; the Italian star Claudia Cardinale as a grizzled Corsican matriarch. Each time they flip up, “Rogue Metropolis” finds a pulse. After which it’s again to males watching one another, clenching their jaws.
Violent, law-defying cops can be a tricky promote at any time, however “Rogue Metropolis” is oblivious to the modified context surrounding their tales. They don’t maintain a lot romantic attract these days.
Not rated. In French, with subtitles. Working time: 1 hour 56 minutes. Watch on Netflix.