Saturday, September 11, 2004

Alzheimer Case

Director Erik Van Looy can only be described as the Belgian Michael Mann. His glossy slick thriller seems to be cut from similar cloth as Heat and Collateral. An ultra professional assassin is hired to eliminate the political rivals of a rich and powerful Baron. But the assassin is getting old and struggling with Alzheimers disease and is often disoriented and confused. He finds out on this second mark that the target is a 12 year-old girl. He refuses citing professional ethics. The Baron then puts out a hit on the assassin leading to a reversal of sides. Meanwhile the police are investating the case of one the first assassination and get confused when the bodies start to pile up on both sides.
The movie is engrossing, mainly due to the performance of Jan DeClair (the aging master of Belgium Cinema) which is nuanced and avoids the Alzheimer conceit from ever felling like a gimmick. This is a character who is having trouble with reality and dealing with the loss of his professional competence which for him is his entire life. His gruff moral code will be familiar to North American audiences even as the movie exudes a welcome european flavour (particularly one sequence involving a prostitue and her treatment by both a potential client and later the assassin).
There is the requisite police banter and interdeptmental politics amoungst the cops and politicians which are not particularly noteworthy other than to explain the actions of some of the plot. The film shines and has a particular Micheal Mann influence in the banter between the highly professional investigator and the assassin. For most the movie they are working on the same side, but the cop is using law inforcement procedure, and the assassin using vigilante techniques.
The conclusion is tense and well conceived. The movie will not revolutionize the genre, but is better than the usual entries in the assassin/cop category.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to set things strait: it is Jan Decleir and not DeClair. But I totally agree. Not te best film ever but a very good film in his genre. With and excellent Jan Decleir who lifts the movie to another level

3:27 a.m.  

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