HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birth of the Dragon
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Balance, La Well InformedBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Bob Swaim
Stars: Nathalie Baye, Philippe Léotard, Richard Berry, Maurice Ronet, Bernard Freyd, Christophe Malavoy, Jean-Paul Comart, Albert Dray, Florent Pagny, Tchéky Karyo, Raouf Ben Yaghlane, Galia Salimo, Sam Karmann, Robert Atlan, Luc-Antoine Diquéro
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Paulo was a criminal in the Paris underworld who was well-liked and influential - or so he thought until he was strolling down the street one evening, bottle he had just bought in hand, when someone called out to him from a parked car. He went over, recognised the occupants and greeted them, yet too late noticed the shotgun aimed at his chest which went off, killing him instantly. But who would want him dead? Quite a few people as it turned out, as Paulo was an informer, and once word had gotten out that this was the case, his contact in the police, Palouzi (Richard Berry), realises straight away the man who ordered the hit...

At first with La Balance, which is French for "The Informer", you think the main characters will be the Paris equivalent of the British Flying Squad as immortalised in the classic seventies television show The Sweeney, and if you had heard how writer and director Bob Swaim had spent an entire year researching this section of the force for his breakthrough movie, you would have every right to believe that. However, it was as if he knew he could have made yet another cop thriller of which there were countless from Europe, yet found himself distracted part of the way in by a couple of criminals who became strangely compelling.

They were a pimp, Dédé, and his prostitute, Nicole, played by a real life romantic couple of actors who had recently split up. That both went on to win the César for best actor and actress for their work here should indicate something of the all-too convincing chemistry as a pair who had lived together for some time and were comfortable with one another. Philippe Léotard played him, and Nathalie Baye played her, the former a notorious hellraiser, or at least a serious drug and alcohol addict, so not a million miles away from the dissolute character he was essaying, and the latter a respected performer who was best known for playing the "nice girl", making this a quite departure for her.

Although plotwise it was the simple enough tale of that couple being persuaded to turn against a gangster (Maurice Ronet) who is ruling the underworld by informing on him, Léotard and Baye offered it a real charge whenever they were on the screen. Berry and the other actors as the cops were behaving in a "Who are the actual bad guys here?" fashion familiar from many a gritty police thriller, so Swaim could have fallen back on various clichés to get his story told, but those lawmen are such an unlikeable bunch that a curious thing happens: you start to feel truly sorry for Dédé and Nicole, in spite of them apparently not holding many sympathetic qualities. They become so isolated in this plot that it's difficult not to feel your heart go out to them.

And that was even when they were less than admirable, as for example he hits her in a fit of frustration, then admits he was wrong - he'd never done it before, and we can see he's so shocked he'll never do it again. Nicole stands by her man, and if she has fallen in with a bad crowd it's soon her and Dédé against the world as they are threatened by the cops until each give in to their demands to protect the other. You could, if you chose to dismiss the more obvious thriller aspects of La Balance, see it as an off-kilter love story as while it was as tough as any in its genre, the small, sad, taken advantage of relationship at its heart was as touching as any in the more blatant romantic movies which this was never going to be mentioned in the same breath as. Meanwhile, we watch Palouzi and his team bend the rules to get their man, thinking nothing of beating up suspects and going to the extremes that occur by the finale. This became not only a hit in France but across the world, mainly in arthouse cinemas but a hit nonetheless, and that was testament to Swaim's intelligent casting. Music by Roland Bocquet.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 776 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
The Elix
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
   

 

Last Updated: