Julien Leclercq / France / 2010 / 91mins
This Monday, One World Trade Center will become the tallest building in New York, standing as a monument against terrorism. But 9/11 isn’t the only case of Islamic anger at the West, Julien Leclercq’s thriller retells the true story of the attempted 1994 hijacking of Air France Flight 8969 by the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).
Close-up shots of faces and fractured clips often give this a feel of 24, emphasised by moments of high tension and danger, frequently portrayed by Vincent Elbaz’s fearless policeman Thierry. However, unlike the TV series, Leclercq is limited by realism. The narrative is borderline linear, with attempts at a political sub-plot explored but never fully blossoming into a story that carries weight. Thierry’s nervous family represent the human element of the elite counter-terror force, but the climax suffers from a lack of anxiety. The sense of pressure would increase if the political edge had been further probed, so as to expose more shameful truths about French governmental policy towards terrorists. But when making fiction out of non-fiction, the issue of how creative you can be with the facts is something interpreted differently by every director. Unfortunately, while there’s integrity in keeping to the truth, it’s regularly a smoking volcano repeatedly grounding good story airways.
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