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Happily-married couple Lisa (Diane Kruger) and Julien (Vincent Lindon) lead a quiet life with their son Oscar (Lancelot Roch). One morning their lives change when police storm their apartment and arrest Lisa for a murder she has not committed. Condemned to a twenty-year prison sentence and with all legal avenues exhausted, Julien decides to organize his wife's escape. But he quickly finds himself out of his depth as he becomes entangled in the dark side of humanity.

Review by Louise Keller:
Propelled by tension, this gripping prison escape thriller takes the form of a beguiling morality tale as it raises unfathomable issues between right and wrong. Gathering great momentum as it goes along, the fact that we have no idea where the story is going to take us contributes greatly to the emotional power of director Fred Cavayé's film.

After a somewhat clumsy and confusing beginning, the story comes into its own as Vincent Lindon's Julien decides to do whatever it takes to help his wife Lisa (Diane Kruger) escape from gaol, three years after she has been wrongly jailed for murder. In flashback we see sketches of the events that transpired in the car park, when fate conspired to put Lisa in the wrong place at the wrong time. Escaping is easy, a former crim tells Julien; staying free is the hard part. From everyman schoolteacher and loving husband to a man carrying a gun charged with bullets of desperation, Julien lives and breathes his obsession. During every waking hour of every day, he struggles to find 'the key'; the all-important starting point.

Vincent Lindon excels as the anti-hero who shifts effortless from living an ordinary life to one in which he has to be prepared to do anything. (You're a teacher, not a gangster, his brother tells him.) Carrying the weight of the film on his shoulders, Lindon conveys his desperation as Julien crosses the line of no return, beginning a life of secrecy and mixing in carefully targeted 'wrong circles'. Her role is smaller but critical and Diane Kruger is superb as she changes from self-assured wife and mother to suicidal prisoner. Lancelot Roch as their young son Oscar is effective, too.

The time frame narrows to the final three months and then the final three days. Fred Cavayé's decision to keep Julien's plans secret works beautifully; we learn what he is planning only as his plan is put into effect. The moment when Julien bids goodbye to his father (Olivier Perrier) is one of the film's most moving, the latter having secretly discovered the fake passports in his son's jacket. Nothing is said, but both men realize the other knows the truth. A contingency is required for every single detail - even for the wild card for the hypothetical emergency. Klaus Badelt's excellent score is the heartbeat of the film, as it reaches its thrilling climax in the final reel. It's a taut and thought provoking thriller you won't forget.
Published first in the Sun-Herald

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(France, 2008)

CAST: Vincent Lindon, Diane Kruger, Lancelot Roch, Olivier Marchal, Hammou Graïa, Liliane Rovère, Olivier Perrier

PRODUCER: Olivier Delbosc, Eric Jehelmann, Marc Missonnier

DIRECTOR: Fred Cavayé

SCRIPT: Fred Cavayé, Guillaume Lemans


EDITOR: Benjamin Weill

MUSIC: Klaus Badelt


RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 4, 2010

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