Blu-Ray Review – Rebellion (2011)

After several years floundering in Hollywood mediocrity actor come director Mathieu Kassovitz marks his welcome return to form with Rebellion (L’ordre et la morale). A no holds barred shameful account on a little unknown black spot on French colonial history.

Dividing his time behind and front of the camera Kassovitz plays Phillipe Legorjus an anti-terrorist captain assigned by the French government during the countries 1988 presidential elections. He is sent to the French colony of New Caledonia to track down separatists who killed  3 policemen as well as taking 26 more hostages too.

When Legorjus confronts the leader of the separatists Alphonse (Labe Lapacas) to defuse the situation and negotiate the hostage’s release. What he finds is a group of indigenous Kanak people (New Caledonian people)who want independence from France. As Legorjus slowly gains the trust of the group he finds himself frustrated by harassment from his peers who daily repress the local populous. As Legorjus gets closer to a peaceful solution, political fighting closer to home between Mitterand and Chirac (the presidential candidates) who both support different solutions to end the standoff. Legorjus now finds himself running out of time to prevent tragedy unfolding.

For many years we have always read/heard about America’s so called ‘crimes’ against humanity but rarely do we get an account of another nation. Rebellion is that stark reminder no country is safe if you have a black spot in your history it’s a story that must be told, this film is one of those stories. Kassovitz is a man on a mission, an angry man delivering a tense harrowing story which slowly grips you as your pulled into the chaos.

Thanks to a well written script Rebellion opens up with the film’s final outcome and it’s not a happy ending. For the next 2 hours, you learn who the true victims are, the Kanaks who simply want independence from France, now forced to pick up arms. Subjected to violence, racism, political infighting, bureaucracy leaving a bitter taste in your mouth questioning any justification of the actions of the French.

Whilst popular stories of struggle are fascinating, lesser known struggles are even more intriguing and with Rebellion Kassovitz gives the Kanaks a voice, solidifying the legality of the Kanak’s struggle to be a nation of their own. I laugh at Alec Salmond’s cries of ‘injustice’ of the Scottish people (I’m Scottish) but if he really wants to talk about real injustices as the New Caledonians, the Kanak’s fight to be independent, now that’s true injustice.

Rebellion is a slow burning compelling film. The pace of the film may not be to everyone’s liking but if you enjoyed the Oliver Stone films of the 1980’s this one will be right up your street. This is a powerful film that’s intelligently written with Kassovitz delivering his best film probably since his best directorial flick since 195, Le Haine.

★★★★|Paul Devine

Drama, Action | France, 2011 | 15 | 26th August 2013 (UK) | Lionsgate Home Ent. | Dir.Mathieu Kassovitz | Mathieu Kassovitz, Labe Lapacas, Sylvie Testud, Steeve Une, Jean-Philippe Puymartin | Buy[DVD] / [Blu-ray]

originally posted at The Peoples Movies | 17th August 2013

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