Did you ever see that movie where a cop goes undercover with a group of criminals and then over time becomes friends with the criminals, falls in love with the lady criminal, feels truly accepted for the first time in his life, and then struggles with whether to turn them in or not? Yes? Well have you seen that movie taking place in 19th century France? No, well then have I got a movie for you!
A good movie, too. Yes, this is definitely a story you’ve seen before but it’s a well executed telling of that story. Tahar Rahim plays Jean, the young cop who infiltrates an anarchist group. Adele Exarchopoulos plays Judith, the young anarchist he falls in love with. Swann Artaud plays the leader of the group who also happens to be Judith’s lover. Karim Leklou plays Biscuit, the one who like Jean immediately. Cedric Kahn plays the higher up cop who asks Jean to go undercover.
Like I said, it’s a pretty standard set up. It’s well told though and the performances from Rahim and Exarchopoulos are superb, their chemistry is immediate and intimate and believable. I rather liked Cedric Kahn as the police boss as well, a nice contrast to his nice guy turn in last years Miss and the Doctors.
Elie Wajeman crafts a bleak but beautiful portrait of industrial Paris too. Every shot is dark and gloomy and damp and completely rich in details that highlight the struggles that the poor working class dealt with in those times. There were a few minor but welcome touches as well, such as when characters working in a nail factory could barely be heard over the roar of the machinery.
All in all The Anarchists is a pretty great little film. If you get a chance to see it I recommend you do so.