[Media Invite] Movie Review: Armed Hands (Mains Armées)

Title: Armed Hands (Mains Armées)
Loved it
Genre: Crime/Thriller
Director: Pierre Jolivet
Actors: Roschdy Zem, Leïla Bekhti, Marc Lavoine
Elements: Drugs/weapoms
Series: Stand alone
Lucas is 46 years old. A great cop, head of the weapons’ trafficking squad in Marseilles. Leïla Bekhti

Maya is 25 years old. She’s a young, drug squad cop in Paris.

As often happens, weapons and drugs cross paths.

And Lucas will cross paths with Maya. Not necessarily by chance.

A hold-up, informers… their investigations become entangled.

As do their lives.

Because their story began long before they ever met…
Mains Armées is the first French movie I've watched in a while. It has a deceptive aura and veneer of a glamourised action adventure, while it tackles successfully the ambitious combination of common themes such as loneliness, work-life balance and corruption, as well as the acknowledgement of women in the workplace, particularly dangerous jobs more associated with males.

Roshchdy Zem shone as the driven, lonely captain of an excellent team. Nowhere is his lone wolf aspect more amplified than in the humourous, bittersweet scene where the team takes a break amongst their nonstop investigation. Similarly, Leila Bekhti excelled in every scene she was in. The relationship between Lucas and Maya crackled, and their every interaction was a continuing spar of unresolved issues.

Marc Lavoine's portrayal as the detestable, power hungry head of the narcotics team highlighted Maya's hunger for more field experience. He radiated a lethal combination of power, cunning and brute force that showed his prowess in navigating the narcotics scene, liaising with snitches. His 'mentoring' was double edged, using her naïveté and need to prove herself to shape her into a tool.

The bright, cool tone of the cinematography and lighting belied the heat of the chase, lending a deceptive tone of bleakness and relaxation that slowly dissolved as the tension amped up as the movie continued. the scenes of Lucas jogging was beautifully shot, showing off Marseilles' breathtaking seaside landscape.

Music plays a huge part in Lucas and Maya's scenes, and I love that it was played as a bonding moment between Lucas and Maya in yet another unanticipated moment that shattered Lucas' characterization as the steadfast, stony captain.

Having relentless followed up on every narrative thread in the movie, the lack of a concrete resolution came across as jarring, which wasn't helped as the focus on the crimes withdrew and moved on to the personal lives of the cops. While it served to emphasize the circular themes, the ambiguous ending was just a contrast as the rest of the movie.

2 comment(s):

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  1. This one sounds really good! I wonder if the ending would work for me.

    1. I hope you try it and tell me how you like it! :D