Army of Crime (L'Armée du Crime) (2010)
ARMY OF CRIME is a revealing thriller about the very first days of the French Resistance to Nazi occupation, a time when many of the movement's leaders and foot soldiers were often foreigners - Poles, Jews, Armenians, Spaniards, Italians - who feared French collaborators as much as the Germans. Armenian poet Missak Manouchian, portrayed in a stand-out performance by Simon Abkarian, and his French wife Mélinée, played by the luminous Virginie Ledoyen, lead a resolute assortment of volunteers against German occupiers and their French allies. Varying in their actual homelands, and in their personal and tragic reasons for joining the struggle, they are united by the understanding that the danger and ferocity of Nazi oppression will only increase unless squarely confronted. Their valiant plot to assassinate a general ultimately shows that resistance is indeed possible, but their activity attracts the attention of the German high command, which extracts from their act of defiance an unforgettable lesson for the French people. -- (C) Lorber … More
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Critic Reviews for Army of Crime (L'Armée du Crime)
A solid, spellbinding drama based closely on real history, which along the way offers a not-so-subtle commentary on the diverse, immigrant-rich society of contemporary France.
This is a fact-based story of the French resistance who had to fight not only the Germans but their own people.
There's no sense of the oppression France felt under Nazi rule. It's all just play-acting in period-specific attire. You can almost hear the AD calling lunch.
Virginie Ledoyen stars as Missak's impossibly lovely, stalwart wife, and a troupe of supporting players give life to the men and women who died not for the miserable France of that moment, but for the vision of what it could be.
His film is always fascinating and is a crucial, stirring addition to the cinema about wartime France.
... Guédiguian punctures a lot of myths about the face-and the motives-of the French resistance.
... Guediguian, working with a screenplay by Serge Le Peron and Gilles Taurand, gives the good old-fashioned epic treatment to an important chapter of history.
A young and talented cast put energy into this timeless story of the citizen warriors of occupied France.
Robert Guediguian makes a fascinating Altmanesque character study of a mixed group of foreign resistance fighters (called the "FTP-MOI") working in Paris to undermine the Nazi-led removal of Jews during World War II.
Impressive recreation of World War II French Resistance movement, marked by a deep humanity and piercing intelligence.
By presenting his heroes warts and all and by consistently adopting a matter-of-fact tone, the film feels appropriately tense because the stakes are believable.
Better and far more complex films about the French Resistance have been made
Unlike Inglourious Basterds, objectively superior from a cinematic standpoint, this French resistance drama evinces some interest in assessing the ethical compromises required of those opposing Nazi rule.
A revealing look at the French Resistance but one that is more intellectual than action-packed.
Compelling performances and beautifully told heroics but the pacing is flawed in terms of a thrilling cinematic experience.
Complex and striking, Guédiguian's film is an impressive new spin on a topic that has been oft explored.
Guédiguian manages to make this a worthy companion piece to Melville's resistance classic Army in the Shadows; the same remorseless dread stalks both.
A credible, detailed picture of day-to-day life in occupied France: an attraction in itself.
Audience Reviews for Army of Crime (L'Armée du Crime)
"I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom." --Bob DylanMore
Leave it to the French to make a movie like this slow, and tedious. But, it is a good depiction of what it's like to live under Nazi occupation. Ordinary, non-violent citizens become a resistance group against evil. In this case, based on true events, people become incredibly courageous and commit acts of revenge against the Nazis. But are finally undone by the French collaborators, in the government and public. Beautifully filmed, and acted.More
Long, flat telling of hardly an original tale of WWII French resistance. It tries to encompass so many characters that it fails to develop any of them beyond stock stereotypes.More
There is something deeply admirable in trying to honor the lives of the international resistance in France(some of who also fought in the Spanish Civil War) during the Nazi occupation, showing that the struggle was bigger than any one country. At the same time, they fed into Nazi propaganda by almost confirming that there is an international Communist conspiracy, thus the title. If contradictory impulses was the biggest fault of "Army of Crime," there still might be enough to salvage here, but a distressing lack of focus and depth dooms the movie to mediocrity.
"Army Of Crime" starts with a roll call of the dead with several characters in custody, allowing French authorities to impress the Nazis when it comes to torture.(Anybody who receives a compliment from a Nazi is surely going to hell.) Rewind to 1942 when French Jews feel they have little to fear yet and Germany has just invaded the Soviet Union. In response to that, Marcel Rayman(Robinson Stevenin) has taken to the streets to paint hammer and sickles to show his displeasure of the occupation with his friend Henri Krasucki(Adrien Jolivet) occasionally in tow, before escalating to acts of violence. But none of that is as interesting as the story of Missak Manouchian(Simon Abkarian), a survivor of the Armenian genocide and resistance leader, his life allowing the movie to make a direct connection between atrocities. Sadly, he disappears from the narrative for stretches, allowing for other business to take center stage like assignations and swimming meets, not allowing any narrative momentum to build.
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