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Sep. 09, 2022France97 Min.R
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Movie Review

When 13-year-old Idir was beaten to death by the police in a suburb, the people there went to the barricades. A wave of violence grips the place that can hardly be stopped. Also amid this wave is Karim ( Sami Slimane ), one of the deceased’s three older brothers. While he is increasingly consumed by his anger and wants to take revenge on his younger brother’s murderer, Abdel ( Dali Benssalah ), who has just returned from a mission abroad as a soldier, tries to de-escalate the situation. Moktar ( Ouassini Embarek ), the third party, has no interest in either of them. Rather, his main focus is on being able to continue pursuing his criminal activities…

Anyone who watches French films that deal in any way with the banlieues quickly gets the impression that the entire country is a powder keg. The most famous is probably the Oscar-nominated Les Misérables, in which three questionable police officers try to prevent an explosion of violence. Its director Ladj Ly is now writing a kind of sequel to the Netflix film Athena. More specifically, he co-wrote the screenplay with director Romain Gavras ( The World Belongs to You) and Elias Belkeddar. Again it goes to a suburb. Again, it’s about a population on the fringes of society whose discontent after an incident threatens to lead to a wildfire. And Alexis Manenti, leading actor and co-author of the thriller released in 2019, has a bigger role again, albeit a different one.

In terms of content, Gavras has nothing worth mentioning to contribute to the discourse. The film revolves around the usual themes of a lack of prospects, crime, and police abuse. The trio of screenwriters tries a bit to upgrade the thin story a little by making three dissimilar brothers the figureheads. Another French crime drama had a very similar constellation a few years ago. In Banlieusards, two of three suburban brothers also stood on opposite sides of the law. While one commits crimes on purpose, the other tries to prevent them, which inevitably leads to a major conflict.

Original title Athena
IMDb Rating 6.8 11,471 votes
TMDb Rating 6.572 334 votes

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