Director(s): Julien Leclercq
Available Quality: DivX, iPod
IMDB Rating: 6.3 out of 10 (565 votes)
Based on a true story, a SWAT team is tasked with storming a high-jacked Air France plane to save its passengers.
Andre Raymond (07 May 2013)
Tight little movie based on the real events. Other reviewers above haveexpressed frustration at the slow tempo, lack of story context andbudget.First: The approach is very french in that you are expected to knowsome of the political context in which the story takes place. I havefound that most of the people from France I know actually readnewspapers, magazines and books and have a good grasp of both theirhistory and current political affairs. Sadly, many Americans get theirnews exclusively from Fox.The tangled and complex relationship between France and Algiers wherethe story begins would seem a mystery to North Americans, but (I wouldsurmise) makes perfect sense to a french resident. The inept, corruptmismanagement of the french government in this affair would also comeas no shock to someone brought up in France and would need very littleexplaining to its native audience.Secondly: The most expensive french film ever made could never rival anAmerican super production. To its credit this film doesn't really try.It really doesn't need MORE and BIGGER explosions (especially whenthere were none during the actual event) to make its point. There is alesson here for certain American producers.THIRDLY: The cinematography, down tempo music score and tempo areobviously meant to create a bleak, depressing atmosphere.In one of the first sequences, the French officer (Thierry) breaks into a hostage situation and shoots the armed suspect only to find awoman hostage dead and a boy standing near her. He has arrived toolate. He and the boy exchange a long look. I think we are meant tounderstand that the grim reality of his job is that these situations donot often turn out well.This early scene sets the tone for the rest of the film, but alsoframes the ending, where, lying in a pool of his own blood, Thierrylooks over and exchanges a very long look with one of the femalehostages. The moment is not overdone. She doesn't crawl over to holdhis hand or mouth a thank-you or anything. It is understood. Here is aman who sacrificed himself to obtain her freedom.The film makers deliberately stretch out Thierry's agony, not revealingwhether he lived or died all through the final shootout and all the waythrough to just before the credits. This was very well done.Many French film makers have a different approach to what has becomejust another sub genre in American action films. This is something tobe applauded all the more so because American film makers are no longerallowed to make these kinds of films.
kosmasp (06 May 2013)
Every nation has their special police/squad team. So do the french asyou can see in this movie that is based on a real event that occurredin 1994. Something is going down (no pun intended), which the frenchpolice tries to stop. Of course this can be eerie, especially becauseyou will think of another event that happened a few years laterelsewhere. While no real connection is made, you can sort of feel it.What makes this stick out, is the fact, that there are quite a few goodaction set pieces and a real character development amongst ourcharacters. While I haven't checked upon how close this is to whathappened originally, I can tell you that this is tension filled stuffindeed.
moviexclusive (05 May 2013)
French director Julien Leclercq's sophomore feature is a dramatizationof the events of Christmas Day, 1994, when a group of four heavilyarmed men from the Algerian Armed Islamic Group hijack an Air Franceflight bound for Paris. The comparisons with Paul Greengrass' 'United93' are inevitable- besides the fact that both concern themselves withthe hijacking of a commercial plane by Muslim extremists, Leclercq alsoemploys the same hand-held, faux-verite style that Greengrass used toconvey the urgency and immediacy of the unfolding events.For the most part, Leclercq succeeds in creating a grippingchronological account of the events leading up to the French GIGN's(the elite counter-terrorism paramilitary unit of the French NationalGendarmerie) storming of the plane stranded on a runway in Marseilleairport where it had stopped to refuel. Still, his film lacks theintensity and emotional muscle of 'United 93', which is perhaps also aconsequence of the more drawn-out nature of the incident (two dayscompared to United's two hours) which it portrays.Leclercq, who co-wrote the screenplay with Simon Moutairou, chooses totell the story from three parallel lines. Thierry (Vincent Elbaz) isone of the squad leaders of the GIGN, and the film's opening minutesattempt to contrast the harrowing nature of his daily work with thecalming father figure he tries to be at home to his baby girl. On theother side of the barrel is Yahia (Aymen Saidi), the leader of theterrorist group who finds justification (however misguided) for hisactions through fervent and frequent prayer. There's also Carole(Melanie Bernier), a French Interior Ministry staffer who finds it anuphill task to prove to her condescending male colleagues that thehijackers are in fact on a suicide mission.The choice of these three perspectives is interesting, especially thecontrast between Thierry and Yahia. Leclercq draws similarities betweenthe two, despite their relative sides in the impending battle. Apoignant sequence where Yahia's mother meets him face-to-face toconvince him to surrender affirms that Yahia is, like Thierry, a familyman. Just like Thierry too, Yahia finds himself the rallying figure forhis men, the symbol they look to for strength amidst their fears andanxieties for the task in front of them. Carole, on the other hand,portrays the authorities' unpreparedness in dealing with the threat ofMuslim extremism, much of the dithering on the part of the Frenchprobably manifested in the same way by the American authorities when9/11 hit.The fact that these three story lines unfold almost independently ofeach other means that there is less screen time for each of thecharacters- but Elbaz, Saidi and Bernier perform admirably in liftingtheir characters beyond caricature. In particular, Saidi issurprisingly effective as the determined terrorist leader whononetheless is not without shades of humanity and concomitantuncertainties about his course of action. Bernier also convinces as thebold and resolute junior staffer willing to take risks to circumventlayers in Government authority.Together, the well-chosen cast hold your attention until the final 20minutes where the action kicks in proper. There will certainly bedetractors who will find fault with Leclercq's choice to shoot most ofthe action in close-ups, as it also means that it is sometimesdifficult to follow the swiftly unfolding action. Nonetheless, thisclimactic showdown is no less heart-thumping, and perhaps it is evenmore so because Leclercq conveys it through the eyes of those thrustinto the highly charged situation (think of it as a first-personshooter experience).And indeed, even if Leclercq was clearly influenced by Greengrass'method, there's no denying that he has utilised it effectively toretell a similarly harrowing real-life drama with style and verve.There is a raw energy to his technique of hand-held, documentary-styleshots, and the intertwining of the dramatized events with real-lifefootage enhances the highly-fraught tension-filled situation. Thisisn't your standard-issue action thriller, but one which reminds us ofthe clear and present real-life danger present in our world out there,as well as the true heroes who put their lives on the line for those ofothers. - www.moviexclusive.com
rightwingisevil (24 April 2013)
one of the worst ever seen so far about hijacking a passenger plane.the screenplay is badly enough to put several female characters in it,yet the wife of the french special force member with their daughter,the woman who works for the french emergency management authorities,the female passenger sitting next to her parents, are totallyunnecessary casting. the scenes about how the french governmenthandling such situation are also very laughable. those four hijackersalso acted so lame and so stupid. the most ridiculous plot is how those4 hijackers could so easily get on board without any reason to justifytheir success. the scene about the stupid french woman who works forthe government trying to bribe the terrorist leader so naively is alsoa big laugh. there are so many useless and meaningless scenes in thismovie dragging out the whole time just like the airplane on the tarmac.the final assault is also like a child play, so laughable and and solame. showing the wife crying while watching the rescue progress isalso so laughably lame and totally unnecessary. this is one of theworst films in such genre and it should not be put into production inthe first place. a total waste of money and time of yours and mine.
DICK STEEL (23 April 2013)
USA has her SWAT, Japan has her Security Police, Brazil has her BOPEfeatured in Elite Squad, and as far as special police teams go, theFrench has got her GIGN (Groupe d'Intervention de la GendarmerieNationale) making it onto the big screen, and what more than tointroduce them via a true, high profile aircraft hijacking of an AirFrance Airbus 300 plane in the year 1994 involving the supposed attemptof using a fuel laden aircraft as a missile targeted against a majorcity landmark, a chilling 7 years before a terrorist group managed tocarry out this dastardly act on the soil of USA.Those of us who had grown up playing the first person shooter gameCounter-strike will be no strangers to the uniform of the GIGN, sinceit is one of the four outfits that you can select on your characterprofile if you choose to be on the side of the counter-terrorists.Director Julien Leclercq paid close attention to detail and began withliterally a big bang to showcase the capabilities of the GIGN troopers,before saving up the real deal for the extended final act. But that'snot to say that the film is a boring ride. On the contrary, Leclercqcrafted a gripping tale that moves, probes and examines very quicklyhow things get to spiral out of control until the inevitable outcome,expertly handling three separate narrative threads running concurrentlybefore finally converging into the titular battle onboard the narrowconfines of an aircraft.The first naturally comes from the perpetrators, the terrorists, theirthought process and ruthless action in causing mass panic and fear tofurther their political cause. Here it's the GIA out to free two oftheir comrades in Algeria, or so it seems, and had taken an Air Franceplane at the airport as leverage. But the second thread, focused onMÃ©lanie Bernier's Foreign Ministry analyst Carole in a very JackRyan-esque role whose research, insights and gut feel points to a verydifferent strategy and objective adopted by the hijackers, and has tocut through the usual red tape in the administration to push her pointsthrough, at times too direct that it irks the brass. And the lastnarrative thread paints a rather personal picture of GIGN trooperThierry (Vincent Elbaz), personifying the issues and concerns of thosewho put their lives on the line to protect strangers, at the risk ofupsetting and disappointing their own family members even, who cannotreconcile why they do what they do.Technically, the film has fantastically strained its colour palette,making it very close to black and white, which I thought suited it finesince it's actually loosely referencing events from history (with thedramatic license for it too I hope) like a documentary, akin toaccessing vague memory banks or like watching a news reel unspool -some of the clips that the characters watch from television were thereal deal at the time. Then there is the choice of adopting the shakycam. Now I'm not a proponent for this camera technique because moreoften than not it gets exploited by the filmmakers to cover up flaws intheir work, and am finding it tiring as an audience to try and followevents on screen when the camera moves about almost all the time. It'snot to say it cannot be used, because The Assault did it nicely thatfit the narrative well, transmitting that sense of urgency and constantdanger, helped by a pulsating soundtrack by Jean-Jacques Hertz andFrancois Roy.What made this film excel amongst its peers are the sensitive storiesand characters involved in a life and death situation, with viewpointspresenting both in macro and micro terms, the latter allowing you tofeel for the characters since it's set up very carefully to allow forempathy. Leclercq does not pull his punches in vilifying the evildoers, with powerful scenes both to evoke a sense of hatred for thesenseless violence they preach, and in one potent scene involving aterrorist having to face up to his parents, allowed that slight sliverof sympathy that they are but pawns manipulated by others. It's alittle pity though that the socio-political context of the incidentisn't covered in the film in detail which may leave some perplexed, andwhile it may rob The Assault of its pace, may probably enhance theviewer's understanding of the conflict that existed.As far as police thrillers go, The Assault scores high on both actionand drama, providing that unique combination very rarely seen in actionfilms, that allows you to feel for the characters, and appreciate theunenviable task of the special forces in the respective countriesconstantly training and prepping to deter any would be aggressors, butwhen the time calls for it, to swing into action unflinchingly. Tacticsand weapons on display in the film also provides ample fuel forfruitful post screening discussions. Definitely one of my favouritefilms this year!
GUENOT PHILIPPE (23 April 2013)
First, I was afraid before seeing this film. I was afraid of anAmerican way of filming and showing the characters. See the topic: Fourmuslims fanatics take an airplane as hostage on a big airport. I wasafraid of the clichÃ©s such as good policemen vs bad, nasty Arabs,terrorists. And I was damn wrong. What a good surprise. While watchingit, I thought of Paul Greengrass' masterpiece: UNITED 93, where theterrorists and their opponents are very well described, in a way whereyou can make your own opinion. No useless pyrotechnics here, no overexplosions, nor over talking. Just the real, authentic, genuine neededaction packed sequences, breathtaking ones, I can assure you. Allcharacters, on both sides, are convincing in this story based on actualfacts.The young film maker, Julien Leclercq, is very promising.
axlrhodes (22 April 2013)
L'assaut is a French film based on the true events that occurred in1994 when Air France Flight 8969 was hijacked by the 'Armed IslamicGroup' at Algiers with the supposed intention of crashing in Paris.What should be a gripping and emotionally charged film plays more likea ploddingly dull TV drama. Attempts to breathe life into the centralcharacter 'Thierry', the leader of a special ops team assigned to thecase, come off as more token than genuine as we're served a briefback-story and glimpse into his troubled world which includes anunhappy wife and a cute toddler who frequently asks where Daddy is.With a tight running time of just 87mins, the film doesn't waste anytime getting to the actual hijacking, but once there seems to wanderoff on cul-de-sac sub- plots while showing scenes including characterswe're not terribly interested in or invited to get to know. Consideringthe hostages endured a two-day ordeal at the hands of the hijackers,the film spends very little time exploring the mood on the plane infavour of amping up the testosterone for a criminally underwhelmingclimax. The inclusion of actual news footage of the real life eventsadds a sense of genuine interest but only to the point whereby you wishyou were watching a documentary about the situation as opposed to ahalf baked dramatisation of it. Aesthetically, the film has a washedout look where colours are all but drained to black and white which ina better film might have some effect, but here it just seems to mirrorhow flat the screenplay is. Given that the films content is so flawed,the choice to shoot in the same shaky-cam documentary style as PaulGreengrass' United '93 inevitably draws unfavourable comparisons. Whilein the real world these dramatic events were to foreshadow the tragedyof 9/11, as a piece of film, this telling of those events lives deep inthe shadow of United '93.
Rabbit-Reviews (20 April 2013)
While we are on a subject of movies based on true events, we mustmention this French gem from 2010. Although the production values arenot blockbuster-like, as you would expect them in a movie of thiscaliber, the usual French colour manipulation and slight blur appliedin post-processing made the whole thing look much better with almostnoir vibe. I had some doubts about this movie, that it will be someTaxi-like action, but I assure you that this is a serious movie. Theonly flaw that I could think of is that they didn't manage to fullydevelop the characters, but then again that wasn't the point. The pointwas the assault, and that part was done perfectly.In the past decade we have seen a number of movies portraying specialforces of different countries (SWAT, BOPEÂ ) so we finally get thechance to see the frenchies in action, and out of all them, they weremost successful (at least in real life). The Assault is a movie aboutthe hijacking of Air France Flight 8969, that was taken by the ArmedIslamic Group (GIA) in the December of 1994 and the attempts of theFrench government to peacefully resolve this situation. Although thishappened in 1994, after the September 11 attacks and a number of failedattempts to hijack other planes this is still a very interestingsubject, especially now with the rise of the Islamic extremists.Speaking of them, we have a rare chance to look inside the mind of youraverage terrorist, and we have to thank the actors for that. Along withthe actual raid, that part of the movie was just so fascinating to me.Maybe because of the outcome of this hijacking, they didn't hold backwith the story and we can actually see what is going on behind closeddoors. Bribes, pleads, blackmail and only as a final solution anassaultÂ With a very talented director and a great cast, this moviewill keep you on the edge of your seat with its realistic action andsuspenseful atmosphere. The special bonus is that it's all true, andthis just adds more tension to an already intense movie. I will notreveal you what happens in the end, but if you want you can check outthe links below for more information, enjoyÂ As a final note, I mustimplore you that as with any other movie that isn't made in USA orEngland, please DO NOT watch the dubbed version, it will ruin the vibeÂ Movie recommendations Rabbit-Reviews.com - Only movies worth watching
VillageVoiceNY (19 April 2013)
Taut, forceful, ritualistic, and all those other flattering adjectivesapplied to thrillers that actually thrill, this skyjacking docudramashowcases yet another genre (in addition to shock horror) the Frenchare kicking our asses in. The Assault is so tense, it seems to pass ina single held breath Âso quickly, in fact, that you don't register itsnarrative flimsiness until later on. Directed and co-written (withSimon Moutairou) by newcomer Julien Leclercq, the film echoes United 93in its real-time account of a real-life airline tragedy in the making.This time, it's the Christmas Eve 1994 hijacking...Read the full review here: http://www.villagevoice.com/movies/
Ken Spiker (16 April 2013)
I was fascinated and totally on the edge of my seat for this one.Despite flaws in the production and irrelevant scenes involving one ofthe GIGN member's wife and little daughter, included obviously for thesake of emotional pull, this film is an accurate reenactment of the AirFrance hijacking of 1994 and subsequent raid to free the hostages. Thisfilm is a stark reminder why we have to endure airport security and howcrazy these Muslim religious fanatics are. The movie had a made-for-TV quality and could have done with higherproduction values; perhaps the budget was limited. The version I sawhad dubbed voices which made the acting seem worse than it really was.I think it would be a lot better in French with subtitles. A lot of thetechnical details of the planning of the raid were just not explained,no doubt the film makers were more interested in dramatic effect. Butthe fact that it was an accurate reenactment of real events made theseflaws appear minor and the events more gripping. At one point the French Government tries to appease the Terrorists bygiving them a large sum of money without any hint or assurance that thehostages would be released. I said to myself, "Did that really happen?I mean, could they be that dumb?" Those leery of French politics willjust have to groan and say "Not again!" But then at the time theydidn't have the lessons of 9/11 to inform them.All in all I was immersed in this film and was quite willing tooverlook its minor flaws in light of the important lessons it teaches.Historical accuracy counts for a lot in this kind of drama.
ccsalway (16 April 2013)
The acting is so appalling I didn't make it more than a few minutesinto the film. Whether it had a realistic plot, good cinematography oreven good quality cgi was wasted because of the horrendous acting! Noone in their right mind would sit through this film!The acting is so appalling I didn't make it more than a few minutesinto the film. Whether it had a realistic plot, good cinematography oreven good quality cgi was wasted because of the horrendous acting! Noone in their right mind would sit through this film!The acting is so appalling I didn't make it more than a few minutesinto the film. Whether it had a realistic plot, good cinematography oreven good quality cgi was wasted because of the horrendous acting! Noone in their right mind would sit through this film!
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