From Chrysalis to L’Assaut, from Robbers to Luke, Julien Leclercq is one of those rare French directors who works exclusively in genre cinema, and more specifically in the unconventional waters of thrillers and action. A few months after Earth and Blood, here comes Sentinel, her second feature film produced for Netflix, in which Olga Kurylenko sets out to avenge her younger sister, is raped and left to die by a Russian oligarch.
The vengeful James Bond girl, solar woman in Terrence Malick’s Wonder, Olga Kurylenko has portrayed herself in recent years as a B-series passenger who’s rather thrifty of her talent. But if there’s one clear quality in Sentinel, it’s the film’s desire to fully embrace the aura of its lead actress. The camera is constantly observing the slender, but filled with tension of the actress, as if taking the pulse of her inner turmoil.
Always seeking his gaze, constantly trying to manifest his confusion or anger, the show stays glued to it, and does it well. It must be said that Kurylenko quickly has a special effect on herself, so much of her silent, almost mineral-like presence fits this revenge story. Invested physically, as credible when emotions gradually overwhelm her like when she oozes dry violence, the actress is the keystone of the story and allows it to endure to its conclusion.
His simplistic interpretation of a soldier on the verge of a nervous breakdown, initially marked by a massacre in Syria, and drugged by treatment supplemented by several sympathetic narcotics also agrees with certain tics of the director. We know Leclercq is a lover of desaturated photos and a pretty free-to-carry camera, and this equation fits perfectly with the film boom, but above all with the aura of an actress, all in embodied electricity.
Malheureusement, pour une comédienne magnétique, le spectateur devra tenir bon face à une fleet de seconds rôles découpés la tronçonneuse dans un bloc de saindoux. De l’oligarque libidineux une tripotée de militaires aussi redoutables qu’un teckel souffrant de coliques néphrétiques, tous font pâle figure et entament l’intérêt du récit. Pas assez hauts en couleur pour nous porter sur les rives de la bourrinerie qui tâche, ils confèrent l’ensemble une fadeur regrettable.
And if we don’t know the extent of the health crisis impacting filmmaking beyond its post-production, some of the sequences seem oddly clashing, or articulated though plausible, like the film’s epilogue, arriving as a stump. Soup. On several occasions, Julien Leclercq and his screenwriter Matthieu Serveau provide a tangled feel, even if it means making an incomprehensible situation as simple as the introduction of a shady nurse, reducing the sympathetic confrontation that follows.
A more regrettable observation that with its simple plot, functional scenario, perfect Olga Kurylenko as a mouth breaker and sustained pace (75 minutes, credits not included), it’s all there to cause us solid retinal fractures. , rather than a benevolent yawn.