Racer and the Jailbird (Le Fidèle) Reviews

  • Oct 07, 2019

    What a shame. Matthias Schoenaerts Is a great actor but the script was a mess.

    What a shame. Matthias Schoenaerts Is a great actor but the script was a mess.

  • May 19, 2019

    I'm always up for a great French film, but this certainly wasn't one of them. The only reason why I decided to watch it is because the trailer seemed interesting, but more importantly, I was looking forward to seeing Adele Exarchopoulos' performance. While her performance did not disappoint, the story was very weak. I was totally unmoved and unconvinced of their 'love affair.' The two main characters seemed like empty, simple-minded people who had a physical attraction to each other and decided very quickly to get together- not a grounds for a great love story. It's not too far from- meet at a club, have a one-night stand, and "let's see if this thing works out because we're both bored and lonely." Totally cheap and disappointing. Next, there is nothing fulfilling about watching two soulless people just wandering around, looking to the other for a purpose in life. It's just boring and depressing. As such, even the random, thrown-in sex scenes were meaningless and boring. There's nothing worse than a superfluous, meaningless, random sex scene in a film. Lastly, the turn of events halfway through the film were totally forced, unrealistic, melodramatic, and seemed like they were just randomly thrown in there to add some extra drama to an already boring film, Overall, the acting was very good, the directing good at many points, but the story itself is just nonsensical, uninteresting, shallow, unmoving. But worst of all, the 'love story' itself was plain superficial and pathetic.

    I'm always up for a great French film, but this certainly wasn't one of them. The only reason why I decided to watch it is because the trailer seemed interesting, but more importantly, I was looking forward to seeing Adele Exarchopoulos' performance. While her performance did not disappoint, the story was very weak. I was totally unmoved and unconvinced of their 'love affair.' The two main characters seemed like empty, simple-minded people who had a physical attraction to each other and decided very quickly to get together- not a grounds for a great love story. It's not too far from- meet at a club, have a one-night stand, and "let's see if this thing works out because we're both bored and lonely." Totally cheap and disappointing. Next, there is nothing fulfilling about watching two soulless people just wandering around, looking to the other for a purpose in life. It's just boring and depressing. As such, even the random, thrown-in sex scenes were meaningless and boring. There's nothing worse than a superfluous, meaningless, random sex scene in a film. Lastly, the turn of events halfway through the film were totally forced, unrealistic, melodramatic, and seemed like they were just randomly thrown in there to add some extra drama to an already boring film, Overall, the acting was very good, the directing good at many points, but the story itself is just nonsensical, uninteresting, shallow, unmoving. But worst of all, the 'love story' itself was plain superficial and pathetic.

  • Dec 11, 2018

    Reminds something old fashioned with low quality... not sure, movie or something else...

    Reminds something old fashioned with low quality... not sure, movie or something else...

  • Aug 03, 2018

    What a shambles [contains spoilers] Le Fidele [lit. trans. The Faithful] is an absolute mess, and one of the most egregious examples I've ever encountered of a narrative systematically undermining and imploding in on top of itself, unable to bear the weight of a litany of cliches and melodrama. The incongruity between the first 90 or so minutes of Fidele and the last half-hour is truly bizarre, as the script inexplicably morphs from a heist movie into a pseudo disease-of-the-week based tearjerker wholly convinced of its own profundity. Written by Thomas Bidegain, Noe Debre, and Michael R. Roskam, and directed by Roskam, Fidele chugs along nicely at first - a little overwrought, but well put together and enjoyable enough. It's a fairly familiar story; essentially, will the love of a good woman save the recidivist criminal with a heart of gold? Gino "Gigi" Vanoirbeek (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a thief masquerading as a car salesman. Benedicte "Bibi" Delhany (Adele Exarchopoulos) works for her father (Eric De Staercke) at his construction company, but spends her free time on the race track. They are introduced by her brother Bernard (Thomas Coumans), who doesn't know what Gigi really does, and they quickly fall in love. However, as time goes by, Gigi finds it increasingly difficult to keep the truth of what he does away from a suspicious Bibi. This plot summary takes us through the first act and into the second. And then the bottom falls out, as the screenplay makes one of the most bizarre about-turns I've ever seen. However, it's not only the fact that the film has an identity crisis and morphs into something completely different. One might forgive that if that something different was well written. As a heist movie, Fidele works pretty well, but as a tearjerker, it's horrendous. For starters, Roskam tries to cram far too much into a short space of time. The last half hour of the film jumps all over the place from Bibi's dad being blackmailed to Gigi's recidivism catching up with him to trouble conceiving a child to ovarian cancer to chemotherapy to mysterious Albanians who can't be trusted to a dogfighting ring. And with Bibi on the brink of death, when Gigi arrives in the hospital to see her, she's already slipped into a coma. So they never get to say goodbye. Then he gets beaten up. Twice. Roskam handles all of this with a spectacularly misguided solemnity that ends up manifesting itself as nothing other than mawkishness. He just keeps on piling melodrama on top of cliche on top of angst. The audience at the screening I attended actually started laughing as the characters experienced misfortune after misfortune after misfortune. It just never ends, and, most unforgivingly, the suffering has absolutely no cathartic effect whatsoever, it just exists in a vacuum of its own making; there's no moral component, no sense in which any of the characters come out the other side having learnt something, and the audience itself certainly doesn't experience any kind of emotional purification, any sense in which their pity or fear has been engaged or purged. And what's especially frustrating is that the film's individual components are well put together. The acting is strong (it would be almost unwatchable were the acting anything less than exemplary), and Roskam's direction is predictably solid (the aesthetic centrepiece is a brilliantly staged three or four minute single take shot of a complex heist on a motorway). Hell, even the end of the film, the final sequence as Gigi drives across the city, is brilliantly shot, and the revelation that an earlier conversation with Bibi continued after he joked that he was a bank robber really caught me by surprise. And the last line is superb (it's also more emotive than all the melodrama in the preceding half hour). However, although the destination is pretty satisfying, how we have gotten there is so ludicrous that it renders any sense of accomplishment null and void. It's just a shame, because although, in an isolated sense, most of the film is well done, the totality is a disaster. A huge disappointment from a director who only seven years ago showed all the promise in the world.

    What a shambles [contains spoilers] Le Fidele [lit. trans. The Faithful] is an absolute mess, and one of the most egregious examples I've ever encountered of a narrative systematically undermining and imploding in on top of itself, unable to bear the weight of a litany of cliches and melodrama. The incongruity between the first 90 or so minutes of Fidele and the last half-hour is truly bizarre, as the script inexplicably morphs from a heist movie into a pseudo disease-of-the-week based tearjerker wholly convinced of its own profundity. Written by Thomas Bidegain, Noe Debre, and Michael R. Roskam, and directed by Roskam, Fidele chugs along nicely at first - a little overwrought, but well put together and enjoyable enough. It's a fairly familiar story; essentially, will the love of a good woman save the recidivist criminal with a heart of gold? Gino "Gigi" Vanoirbeek (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a thief masquerading as a car salesman. Benedicte "Bibi" Delhany (Adele Exarchopoulos) works for her father (Eric De Staercke) at his construction company, but spends her free time on the race track. They are introduced by her brother Bernard (Thomas Coumans), who doesn't know what Gigi really does, and they quickly fall in love. However, as time goes by, Gigi finds it increasingly difficult to keep the truth of what he does away from a suspicious Bibi. This plot summary takes us through the first act and into the second. And then the bottom falls out, as the screenplay makes one of the most bizarre about-turns I've ever seen. However, it's not only the fact that the film has an identity crisis and morphs into something completely different. One might forgive that if that something different was well written. As a heist movie, Fidele works pretty well, but as a tearjerker, it's horrendous. For starters, Roskam tries to cram far too much into a short space of time. The last half hour of the film jumps all over the place from Bibi's dad being blackmailed to Gigi's recidivism catching up with him to trouble conceiving a child to ovarian cancer to chemotherapy to mysterious Albanians who can't be trusted to a dogfighting ring. And with Bibi on the brink of death, when Gigi arrives in the hospital to see her, she's already slipped into a coma. So they never get to say goodbye. Then he gets beaten up. Twice. Roskam handles all of this with a spectacularly misguided solemnity that ends up manifesting itself as nothing other than mawkishness. He just keeps on piling melodrama on top of cliche on top of angst. The audience at the screening I attended actually started laughing as the characters experienced misfortune after misfortune after misfortune. It just never ends, and, most unforgivingly, the suffering has absolutely no cathartic effect whatsoever, it just exists in a vacuum of its own making; there's no moral component, no sense in which any of the characters come out the other side having learnt something, and the audience itself certainly doesn't experience any kind of emotional purification, any sense in which their pity or fear has been engaged or purged. And what's especially frustrating is that the film's individual components are well put together. The acting is strong (it would be almost unwatchable were the acting anything less than exemplary), and Roskam's direction is predictably solid (the aesthetic centrepiece is a brilliantly staged three or four minute single take shot of a complex heist on a motorway). Hell, even the end of the film, the final sequence as Gigi drives across the city, is brilliantly shot, and the revelation that an earlier conversation with Bibi continued after he joked that he was a bank robber really caught me by surprise. And the last line is superb (it's also more emotive than all the melodrama in the preceding half hour). However, although the destination is pretty satisfying, how we have gotten there is so ludicrous that it renders any sense of accomplishment null and void. It's just a shame, because although, in an isolated sense, most of the film is well done, the totality is a disaster. A huge disappointment from a director who only seven years ago showed all the promise in the world.

  • May 21, 2018

    `A perfectly fine and nice take on a love story. Much better than other Venice Festival offerings Three Billboards, Mother and The Shape of Water.

    `A perfectly fine and nice take on a love story. Much better than other Venice Festival offerings Three Billboards, Mother and The Shape of Water.

  • May 08, 2018

    It was NOT that good, in my opinion, but well designed. But, I try movies rated less, but MOSTLY HEAR, LOVE this company "Rotten Tomatoes" with how it RATES movies!

    It was NOT that good, in my opinion, but well designed. But, I try movies rated less, but MOSTLY HEAR, LOVE this company "Rotten Tomatoes" with how it RATES movies!

  • Oct 18, 2017

    Roskam brings a capturing story of adrenaline, love, passion and crime. You get drawn into this movie, not in the least by the excellent camera work. However, in the second half of the movie, it seems as if Roskam is trying to adress too many themes at once. In my opinion, he should have stuck with the simplicity of the main story.

    Roskam brings a capturing story of adrenaline, love, passion and crime. You get drawn into this movie, not in the least by the excellent camera work. However, in the second half of the movie, it seems as if Roskam is trying to adress too many themes at once. In my opinion, he should have stuck with the simplicity of the main story.