Legendary escaped from prison, Eugène-François Vidocq (Vincent Cassel) tries to be forgotten by becoming a simple rag trader. But he is overtaken by his past and accused of a murder of which he is innocent. By a sudden twist of fate he becomes chief of the security brigade of the Prefecture of Police of Paris to fight organized crime. His exceptional results attract the wrath of other police and the underworld. His head is put on price. Will he manage to survive?
I really like European cinema but, unfortunately, this movie I wouldn’t recommend to anybody. First of all it was schematic to the extreme. Secondly, it was boring and predictable. Thirdly, it was suffused with truly disgusting patriotic propaganda, a thing I realy hate in any movie, African, European, Asian, American, Arctic, you name it. Do you want some details anyway? Ok, here you go.
You’d think, with such a juicy topic and such a character nothing could go wrong. The movie promises you 19th century Paris, a cesspool of open sewers, rotting animal carcasses and vicious robbers who never hesitate to kill, and Eugene Francois Vidocq, the infamous criminal who transformed into an infamous criminalist, building the foundations of modern forensics and inspiring writers like Honore de Balzac and Edgar Allan Poe. Seems like a feast, right? Wrong. The director gave me instead some decent fight sequences but no clever, intelligent investigations Vidocq was so famous of. I also saw some romance but no politics or sophisticated plottings. You get rivalry but no real thinking. Finally, you get a super chivalrous, honest villain who is no villain at all. As I said, boring.
I didn’t finish watching this movie – turned it off after roughly three-fourths. And then I went to bed, quite disgusted. I would love to watch a good Vidocq movie and it seems I’ll have to wait.