Monday, 28 July 2014

DEALER - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Grim, Grimy, Violent French Crime Drama Delivers Goods @FantAsia2014

Dealer (2014) Dir. Jean Luc Herbulot
Screenplay: Samy Baaroun, Herbulot
Starring: Dan Bronchinson, Elsa Madeleine, Salem Kali, Bruno Henry

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Dan (Dan Bronchinson) is a caring, loving single Dad living in Paris. He dreams of moving to Australia and start life anew. He also happens to be a criminal scumbag, pimp and drug dealer; a lifestyle that's now starting to wear him down and forced his wife to move out with their daughter in tow. Though he's wisely avoided selling any hard drugs, especially cocaine, an opportunity presents itself when one of his regulars is in desperate need of one kilo of the death powder and willing to pay retail for it. In one single afternoon, Dan can make enough to completely change his life and that of his family's.

Throwing his better judgement to the wind, Dan reconnects with a dangerous cartel from his younger days and in the flurry of activity (including some cops looking for him), he hides the goods in his hooker's lair. When it goes missing, his life is turned topsy turvy and he's plunged into an adrenalin charged race against time - one in which he's faced with:

-trolling the deepest, darkest Parisian shitholes,

-engaging in several breathtaking chases,

-mixing it up in several brutal displays of fisticuffs,

-leaving a trail of corpses as long as his decades-long rap sheet,

-and rescuing his wife and child from the clutches of some criminal psychos holding them ransom until he delivers.

Dealer is one thrilling, shocking and edge-of-the-seat-suspenseful crime picture. Some might make an obvious comparison to the work of Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive), but that would be a slap in the face to co-writer and director Herbulot who offers up a movie that's anything but the pretentious, sickeningly cerebral and wildly overrated pictures of Refn. Herbulot's film is as striking a debut as such first-feature/sophomore classics of the genre as Nick Gomez's Laws of Gravity, the Hughes Brothers' Menace II Society, Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine and even Martin Scorsese's Who's That Knocking At My Door and Mean Streets. It's a movie so rooted in streets, cheap rooms, dives and gutters that it practically stinks of sweat, blood, piss, dog shit and cum.

Stunningly shot and cut in the kind of herky-jerky that's more in line with masters like Paul Greengrass, who actually know how to compose shots as opposed to all the big-budget poseurs who shoot their action and suspense in this manner because they aren't real filmmakers, Herbulot is the real thing and then some.

I can hardly wait to see his next picture. If it's even half-as-good as Dealer, it's going to be damn amazing.


Dealer enjoyed its world premiere at the 2014 edition of the FantAsia International Film Festival in Montreal.