(15) 100min (Contender DVD retail)
Will the Algerian war turn the humanist lieutenant at the centre of Florent Emilio Siri’s film into a monstrous shadow of his former self? After being posted to Algeria, Terrien (Benoît Magimel), the well-adjusted husband and father back in France, struggles to hold onto his values, simultaneously, pragmatic survival seems to dictate that if he doesn’t adjust he’ll end up less principled than naïve. But can he become realistic about the dangers of the situation without becoming yet another blood baying war machine?
This is a crisis of conscience film, but more pessimistic than most as Terrien and the French Army are fighting a battle they have no real hope of winning. The strength of the film lies both in Magimel’s very competent performance (no matter the continuing stiffness of his body language), and in the great support from Albert Dupontel, Marc Barbé and Aurélian Recoing as fellow soldiers. Extras include an interview with the director, and interviews with veterans remembering the war.