Saturday, 14 June 2014

JUNE 14, 2014

L'EMPIRE DES LOUPS/ Empire of the Wolves (2005) Directed by Chris Nahon. **

Engaging but hardly memorable in the long term is the best way to describe this rather schizophrenic thriller. It can't really decide what it is so we get a bit of sci-fi, some horror, a serial killer, terrorist, cop film. At 90 minutes or there about one of the central characters (the reliable Jean Reno) seemingly dies by (quite spectacularly) being, symbolically, dragged down to hell in an underground cemetery in Paris. The film could have easily ended at that point but it suddenly shifts tone and location to Istanbul. About this time our hero is asked by the villain "Why did you come?"  He answers "To understand". Well, I felt a bit like that myself, especially when Reno suddenly reappears.  The bemused hero says "I saw you die in Paris" but receives no reply and we get no explanation. The first part of the film, set in a Paris that increasingly resembles some nightmare version of the city is the strongest and most interesting. The scenes in Turkey (with a surprise appearance by Vernon Dobtcheff) look as though they were made up on the spot and by the time one of the characters suddenly wants to do a human sacrifice to a strange idol it is quite a relief of hear Reno say "It's over". It's quite enjoyable if you don't take it seriously. The only other film I've seen by this director is BLOOD : THE LAST VAMPIRE and that wasn't particularly memorable either.

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