Le Petit Lieutenant (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Le Petit Lieutenant (2006)



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

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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 awful lot, with the exception of the unit commander, Caroline (Nathalie Baye), an alcoholic who has just returned from a long stint on desk duty. The other experienced detectives that Antoine looks up to are the cynical Louis (Antoine Chappey), and the stalwart Solo (Roschdy Zem), who in addition to the rigors of the job faces bigotry due to his Moroccan origin. When a Polish immigrant is found murdered in a canal near the station, the unit begins a methodical investigation, eventually learning that the victim was last seen with a couple of Russians. When a second victim is rescued from the waters of the canal a few days later, the case takes on a new urgency. As Antoine tries to fit in and learn on the job, Caroline struggles with her addiction and forms an almost maternal bond with the rookie. Le Petit Lieutenant also features Jacques Perrin, and was shown by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of their 2006 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Xavier Beauvois, Cédric Anger, Guillaume Bréaud, Jean-Eric Troubat
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 10, 2007
Cinema Libre - Official Site

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Nathalie Baye
as Caroline Vaudieu
Jalil Lespert
as Antoine Derouère
Xavier Beauvois
as Nicolas Morbé
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News & Interviews for Le Petit Lieutenant

Critic Reviews for Le Petit Lieutenant

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (26)

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.

Full Review… | March 16, 2007
Associated Press
Top Critic

Le Petit Lieutenant shows how good French movies can be when they stay French and don't try to go international.

Full Review… | February 8, 2007
Washington Post
Top Critic

... you can sense Baye's struggling within the limits imposed on her.

Full Review… | January 26, 2007
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | January 19, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Le Petit Lieutenant looks at Antoine's life with lyricism.

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | January 11, 2007
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Le Petit Lieutenant


It's March! :fresh:


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]

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.

Curt C

Super Reviewer

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