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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Largo Winch


So French cinema is “experimenting” with comics to big screen films?! Yes, it is and perhaps a little surprisingly the end product is very French and highly entertaining, which makes it quite different to what we are use to watch in the comics-to-films Hollywood formula. No, never heard about the Belgian Jean Van Hamme serial novels of the ‘70s or about the 16-part series with illustrations by Philippe Francq, so I had no idea who Largo Winch was and well is an action hero, but a very down to earth hero. That is according to what I saw in this film.

This Jérôme Salle movie is based primarily on the first two volumes and tells how billionaire mogul Nerio Winch adopts a heir and keeps him a secret. After Nerio dies his adoptive son surfaces but has to prove that he is he, as nobody in the large business empire knows his face or anything about him. Most of the story is told in constant flashbacks that continue telling the past while the plot thickens in the present, as we all know that Nerio was assassinated from one of the first scenes.

Truly spectacular cinematography that moves from Hong Kong to Matto Grosso, Brazil and to old-Yugoslavia or new-Croatia, the later looking outstandingly spectacular with some scenes that will mesmerize you like when Largo goes inside the island and “appears” at an inside lake, fabulous! Okay it was not filmed in those places but nevertheless the scenery is fabulous and spectacular. Perhaps it will sound really strange coming from me but one of the things that really struck me were the amazing cars used in the movie with brands like Rolls Royce Phantom, Mercedes Benz S500, BMW 7, Audi, etc… gee they are simply WOW! (I can’t believe I dared to write this, but imagine that I “noticed” even the cars in this movie… which I never do in the James Bond et all, lol!).

The movie has great performances –which is not common in Hollywood movies… well, lately it has improved- especially Tomer Sisley that plays Largo Winch in a role that was honored with Best Male Newcomer at the 2009 Étoile d'Or awards. He really creates a multidimensional character. With an evil character we have a great performance by Kristin Scott Thomas, the only drawback is that she was the only well-known actor in the movie and you early guess that she’s behind everything, which makes the story a little predictable. Still, with all the twists, turns and puzzles the story will still entertain you.

If you’re in the mood of “discovering” French action movies based on a comic character for mainly entertaining purposes, then this movie is definitively for you and I highly recommend it. But please do not expect all the grandiose special effects of Hollywood movies and you will be able to enjoy more the plot, the “normal” human fights, the more realistic car chases with WOW cars… and perhaps you will be surprised (??!!) with the more natural raw sex scenes typical of French cinema.

I definitively enjoyed this fun-to-watch entertaining movie and yes, I will watch if and when they do the sequels.

Enjoy!!

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