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Le Petit Lieutenant (2006)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 11

A gritty, languidly paced crime drama that blends old-fashioned ambiance with modern cynicism.


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 6

A gritty, languidly paced crime drama that blends old-fashioned ambiance with modern cynicism.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 2,322

My Rating

Movie Info

A young, inexperienced detective is inducted into an elite Paris plainclothes unit in Le Petit Lieutenant, directed by Xavier Beauvois (Don't Forget You're Going to Die). Antoine (Jalil Lespert or Human Resources) is as gung-ho as they come, and eager to learn everything he needs to know to be a good cop, although he misses his wife (Bérangère Allaux), a schoolteacher who stayed behind in the country when Antoine took his new job. Antoine socializes with his new comrades, who seem to drink an

Apr 10, 2007

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All Critics (55) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (11) | DVD (7)

A quiet powerhouse of a film, an implacable, uncompromising French police drama, both old-fashioned and modern, that underlines the reasons impeccably made crime stories do so well on-screen.

March 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
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Le Petit Lieutenant shows how good French movies can be when they stay French and don't try to go international.

February 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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... you can sense Baye's struggling within the limits imposed on her.

January 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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The film's plot, revolving around a murder investigation that turns nasty, ticks along smoothly and efficiently. But it's ultimately more of a character drama, and a reminder that great acting often has little to do with words.

January 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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Le Petit Lieutenant looks at Antoine's life with lyricism.

January 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Beauvois makes the milieu his own, too, showing us credible and affecting human beings caught up in a world that often reveals humanity at its worst.

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The rarely done genre of the French policier is alive and well in director Xavier Beauvois' dynamic movie

April 25, 2009 Full Review Source:

French version of upscale cop shows like NYPD Blue or The Wire.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source:

Gives the audience a strong sense that you're watching how things really go down in a police station... only without all the action and excitement of a TV cop show.

March 24, 2007 Full Review Source:

To cut to the chase...this is a very French, understated, intelligent, slow, police procedural that ultimately engrosses and then surprises the viewer. If you don't see it in a theater, it would be a great rental.

March 20, 2007 Full Review Source:

As a portrayal of the angst that permeates most police work...certainly a success. As drama, however, it's far from riveting.

March 3, 2007 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

A hugely satisfying policier that delivers exceptional performances.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Still mourning the end of Helen Mirren in TV's Prime Suspect? You might want to give Le Petit Lieutenant a whirl.

February 15, 2007 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Basically a vivid meal of characters, plus coffee and wine and one gin tonic, Le Petit Lieutenant keeps true to its brasserie menu.

January 19, 2007 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

... one that will likely earn more respect from viewers than it will passion.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Has a clipped, Bressonian quality that makes it frustrating but also increasingly fascinating.

December 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Le Petit Lieutenant

It's March! :fresh:

March 3, 2007
Neum Daddy

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Le Petit Lieutenant" starts out with Antoine Derouere(Jalil Lespert) graduating from the police academy and chooses as his first assignment the detective squad in Paris, much to the consternation of his young wife, who does not want to leave her teaching job in Le Havre. In Paris, Antoine is assigned to the Crime Unit under Commander Caroline Vaudieu(Nathalie Baye), a recovering alcoholic, two years sober, and only now returning to active duty. Things settle into a routine after a while for Antoine until a body turns up in the canal who turns out to be a drunk Antoine helped process a short time before.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Le Petit Lieutenant" is an absorbing police procedural that is more interested in character than in mystery.(It also explores the themes of prisons and racism.) This is a subdued movie that is layered in details about people going about their jobs on a daily basis.(While the policemen in this film may worship the violence of American films, the reality is most often quite different.) It avoids expectations throughout and only during one critical sequence does it telegraph its punches.[/font]
September 10, 2006
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Strikingly real French cop drama. Beauvois simply goes about telling his story and developing his characters with no Hollywood "tricks". Thankfully, the story is damn good and the characters are intriguing, which makes the events that unfold all the more powerful.
July 26, 2007

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Eine fatale Entscheidung (DE)
  • The Young Lieutenant (Le petit lieutenant) (UK)
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