The directors of the cult French classi Aaltra, return with a tale in
tribute to a French anarchist that gives the film its name.
Louise-Michel tells the tale of a laid off factory worker who takes her
redundancy pay to hire an assassin to kill the boss who fired her; in
doing so she hires an inept security guard with fantasist dreams of
guns, this happen stance leads to many misunderstandings but a black
humour mixed with memorable sight gags.
Louise (Yolande Moreau) is an ex-con who is laid off by the toy
factory, and who after her colleagues pool the 20.000euros together
convinces them to knock off the boss. After losing contact with
her initial choice, she happens across Michel (Bouli Lanners), who
proudly carries his gun and seems perfect but his ineptitude leads him
to sub-contract the job to inexperienced gunmen, leading to hilarious
In this current global recession, where money is of the essence you
sympathise with the female workers at the factory, but you cannot feel
morally conflicted about their subversive decision to seek
justice. (Oddly, this film was released one week after the crisis
at Lehman Brothers in its homeland; but has had to wait two years for a
The cult classic Aaltra had the premise of two wheelchair users
trailing across Belgium to seek vengeance on the manufacturers whose
machinery led to their disability, this sight gag of two wheelchairs on
the road led to many a sight gag. And the directing pair repeat
this trick on numerous occasions; such as when they the two leads first
meet and he tries to find his home in the caravan park, a simple task
leads to a maze of wondering where he is going; and when he attempts
target practice but mistakenly shoots a cow to uproarious effect.
Much like their previous work, the film soon descends into a
cross-European odyessey as the answer to Louise's question of who
sacked her becomes ever longer. This movement of characters from
town to next town is a bit of a shame, as any film reliant on gunplay
and assassins should be geographically restricted to the town where the
action initialises, it is a generic convention a la In Bruges, unless
it has the geopolitical spectrum of The Bourne Trilogy or the leisure
of expense that James Bond has.
What does not get mentioned in the reviews upon its theatrical release
is the question of gender in the two leading roles, and how they have
both transgressed from the gender they were born as - whilst alluded to
earlier in the film, it does not get spoken about until near the film's
conclusion and then washed over somewhat, as the directors seek laughs.
The directors perhaps did not realise they had a convincing drama about
sexuality, disability and moral fortitude in their hands. The
pursuit of laughs sometimes goes down a dead end, such as the poor in
taste sight gag of an ill chosen hitman, who shows of a scale
demonstration of the Twin Towers. Just as in poor taste, was
Michel utilising his terminally ill cancer-stricken cousin, in
attempting to bump off said boss. After this, the film's laughs are
harder to come by as they tried too hard to get a laugh.
Whilst the film fails to deliver on the moral quandries it poses, it
does deliver on sheer inventiveness and absurd behaviour by less than
perfect characters. The surreal nature of the film may lend
Benoit and Kervern another cult following.
The DVD features a nice set of deleted scenes, theatrical trailer and
stills gallery; somewhat good set of extras for a foreign title.
The film is released by Axiom Films on DVD on Monday 25th April for