Escape these demanding times with a thriller so lean and mean you'll wish it longer than its modest hour and a half.
Director: Guillaume Pierret
Cast: Alban Lenoir (Taken), Nicolas Duvauchelle (Polisse)
Runtime: 1h 32m
By: John DeSando
“Need I remind you, 007, that you have a license to kill, not to break the traffic laws.”
Let me know right away if you find a better thriller on line now than the French production Lost Bullet. If you think there might be a kinship with Fast and Furious, think again. Although muscular autos occupy a part of the screen (a red Renault?? Look under the hood to believe), it’s in the surprisingly-developed characters, defined even when doomed, to make this actioner a most entertaining Netflix production. Faint echoes of the classic Steve McQueen Bullitt and Tom Hardy’s Locke.
Feature debut director Guillaume Pierret expertly guides Lino (Alban Lenoir), a bright con with a specialty as a mechanic through bad cop syndrome. His mentor is shot, and Lino is framed for it. Getting the bullet from the car will set things straight although not an easy task given the number of crooked cops surrounding him.
At least 2 sequences are Fast and Furious worthy; however, the focus is on Lino’s wits where Vin Diesel’s character relies on witty. Lino is simply a genius at turbocharging and his job, that releases him every week from prison, is to create for the Go-Fast Task Force cars that are faster and more furious than those of rogue gangs
In one sequence worthy of Jason Statham, Lino dispatches several cops in his escape. This improbability more than anything else compromises the otherwise realistic fantasy of the film’s impregnable hero. Lino, however, at least equals Statham’s taciturn grimness. Alas, no jokes in Lost Bullet.
Lost Bullet is a minimalist thriller that impresses with character (check out the warm relationship between Lino and his older boss, Charas, played by Ramsey Bedia) and reasonably appointed cars carrying a shotgun or two but not much more fire power). The film offers a full 1 ½ hours of action and intelligent violence. You might even buy a Renault although you know you’ll pay for a mechanic not half as smart as Lino. Netflix offers a bargain to help you through.
BTW—It’s expertly dubbed in English. You can always use closed caption, as I usually do, so you don’t miss a word.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com.