2017 ‘Le fidèle’ Directed by Michaël R. Roskam. The whole thing becomes drenched in a kind of downbeat sentimental martyrdom that feels oppressively old-fashioned and moribund. Roskam stages a spectacular heist along a stretch of freeway that kicks off with a shipping car being shoved off a bridge, so that it crashes down and blocks traffic, and the gang can whip out their machine guns. She does, however, issue a romantic edict: “No flowers.” It’s a line that will resonate with viewers based on how old they are — i.e., whether they think that a man bringing flowers is an outdated gesture or a timeless one. Overall, Racer and the Jailbird’s interesting set-up with compelling character arcs is hampered by an over-the-top and left-of-field third act. He has written for a host of other publications and resides in Brooklyn. There is a decidedly, and one would assume intentional, Goodfellas-like feel to Gigi’s lifestyle spent with the friends who have constituted his family since his childhood. He takes her to a boisterous restaurant dinner to meet his friends, and they’re a roughhousing lot, big on manly hugs — which seems par for the course in Belgium. Schoenaerts, as always, is a fearless actor who refuses to phone in a single moment, and Exarchopoulos convinces you that Bibi is Gigi’s matching alpha mate. There is much to like from the first and second acts of the film, which is split up into sections (“Gigi” and “Bibi”) giving events generally from the point of view of each of the two main characters in turn. Gigi is virile, but he’s also gentle, and attentive. The friends they just had dinner with, a raucous, gregarious bunch, are part of his gang. (Yes, this joke works better if you consider the English language title of the film, Racer and the Jailbird. Roskam creates some really beautiful scenes in the film’s first hour, which he titles after his male hero. Bibi is young, beautiful, and affluent. Bibi showed her fresh contempo spirit when she said, “No flowers.” But in “Racer and the Jailbird,” Roskam winds up piling on the hearts and flowers. © Copyright 2020 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. In “Racer and the Jailbird,” Bénédicte (Exarchopoulos), known as Bibi , is a professional race-car driver, and though the film tries to showcase her sexuality in that role with an enlightened lack of exoticism, it can’t resist playing it both ways: When Bibi first takes off her helmet and bulky racer’s uniform, revealing the comely feminine presence beneath, the scene is shot and edited to make you go, “Wow, I didn’t expect that!” Maybe that’s because the audience is taking in the moment through the eyes of Gino (Schoenaerts), known as Gigi, who is instantly smitten.
The two have chemistry, and it begins mixing pretty quickly. HeadStuff is all about putting buckets of interesting stuff in one place. Now streaming on: Powered by JustWatch. This is one of two bravura heist scenes that Roskam stages and shoots with flair.
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