Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
The Crimson Rivers(2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Jean Reno/Niemans
Vincent Cassel/Max
Nadia Farres/Fanny
8 10
Two cops one case…but they don’t know it yet. Niemans (Reno) is sent out to investigate a grisly murder near a creepy private school and Max (Cassel) is sent out to check on a desecrated gravesite. Their cases are related. Both men eventually come together to fully tackle this violent and bizarre case. Serial killer, anyone?
\"Seven\" French style. From the grisly opening credits (close ups of a gory corpse), this Arrow knew he was in for a bloody good time. Crimson Rivers is an engrossing piece of cinema and had me by the collar from frame one. It’s a French flick going the \"Hollywood\" way but without sacrificing its \"French\" essence in the process. The mix of both gives the film a very original feel.

We follow two cops (who don’t know one another), each on their own respective case until they finally crash together. It helps that the two flatfoots are played by Reno and Cassel. Can you say CHARISMA? It’s all over the place with these two guys. The film moves slowly at first (but never boring) with lots of investigating going on. Many clues are slapped our way and lots of gory bodies too (this killer is whacked!). I didn’t mind the slow vibe but was very happy when the film kicked in hard. The scene where the killer encounters the cops for the first time is one hell of a tense moment and had me yelling in French: MERDE!!!!!!

Yes, we’ve seen movies of this nature before: Seven, Resurrection, Bone Collector, Kiss The Girls…but what sets this cruel toy apart from the rest (other than the French vibe) are the locations. The ice tunnel, the snowy mountains (filmed on the French Alps), the creepy cemetery, the creepier monastery and the school that just feels a bit off (Disturbing Behavior without the robot crap). They give this familiar tale a fresh spin. Apart from being beautiful to look at, the locations kept my \"jaded\" movie going knife on its toes. They really made a difference.

Where the movie lost me is with the killer’s motive. I won’t lie. I don’t fully get it yet. The killer’s backstory confused the hell out of me and a second viewing will hopefully clear it up for my simple-minded arse. But apart from that I don’t have any complaints about this red wet offering. We get a solid story, good suspense, a great martial arts fight scene (I’m convinced Cassel is related to Van Damme), some kool chase scenes, gore galore and an ending that doubles up on the stunts and the surprises. What else do ya need?

Crimson Rivers was a thrilling ride…now if I could just fully grasp what wuz up with that killa…Slit this…
Not for the squeamish. Bodies with their hands cut off and eyes scooped out. A crucified dude with blood leaking like a faucet out of his hollow eye sockets. This nasty flick made me squint a few times. Who says the French are all about wine and bread? They love gore, too!
Jean Reno (Niemans) is awesome as always. He’s got mucho presence and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He’s a strong, subtle actor. Vincent Cassel (Max) kinda looks like Ben Affleck’s bad boy brother. He’s also very charismatic and sure knows how to kick that arse. Nadia Farres (Fanny) has that everyday girl thang going for her. She does very well playing off veteran Reno. I predict a solid career ahead of her.
T & A
Naked corpses. Naked mutilated male corpses. Not fun nudity.
Brilliant cinematography (the jaw dropping locations help), stylish shots, wonderful play with lighting and sound. All bathed in tension and bleakness. Who’s the big winner tonight? Mathieu Kassovitz is our big winner. You go, baby!
The score by Bruno Coulais fits the film like a condom. It’s somber and melancholic. Very effective.
Don’t let the fact that it’s in French turn you off (the screening I attended had subtitles, and if they decide to release it in the States, they might just dub it as well). It’s a mean mother. You want gore, a good story, better acting and groovy surprises? Dip your feet in this river, you won’t be disappointed. Les Francais aime la violence aussi!! Yippee!!!!
The film is based on the novel: Les Rivieres Pourpres by Jean-Christophe Grange.

An American remake is already up in the air…WHY???