36th Precinct 
by Del Harvey
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On June 14, 2011, Palisades Tartan releases 36th Precinct, a powerfully dramatic take on the crime film from France’s Olivier Marchal, director of Mr73, also starring Daniel Auteuil.
In 36th Precinct, a Parisian gang has been targeting armored cars for their bounty and brutally killing their drivers, while always managing to stay one step ahead of the law. Around this time, the senior officer of the 36th Precinct announces his plans to retire and issues a challenge: Whichever officer can apprehends these criminals before their next attack, will be promoted to his esteemed and coveted permission.
Leo Vrinks (Daniel Auteuil) and Denis Klein (Gerard Depardieu), two former friends who are now bitter rivals for throne cannot believe their luck, but as the competition heats up between the two, so does the violence, bloodshed and inevitable heartbreaking betrayals.
Daniel Auteuil is one of France’s best actors, as accomplished with comedy as he is with drama, and his career boasts many fine works, including The Girl On The Bridge, A Heart In Winter, Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, Cache, Apres Vous, The Lost Son, and The Closet. His work here is equal to some of his best dramatic films, but it is in the scenes with Depardieu that his talents really are shown. Depardieu is a giant of the French cinema, but even he has met his match in the capable and agile Auteuil. Their rivalry is played to the hilt in subtle and dark undertones, and the casting alone is what helps to make this film’s darkly conflicted characters resonate with the viewer. The fact that their rivalry extends back into their personal history decades before we pick up their story is brought into stark realization whenever Depardieu’s Klein utters the name of Auteil’s character’s wife, Camille (Valeria Golino). And when these two finally come face-to-face, her dismissal of Klein reveals just how far his character will go to see his rival’s complete destruction.
Before writer/director Marchal became an actor/director, he was a police officer. But it is as director where he is garnering the strongest attention and primarily with crime films and even a series on French television, Braquo, lending realism to the each of his projects.
For more information on 36th Precinct, visit Tartan Palisades official site here.
Bonus features included on the DVD are:
36th Precinct was nominated for eight César Awards (French Academy Awards), including Best Director, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress & Best Writing.
Available starting June 14th from Tartan Palisades.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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