Dir Olivier Marchal, 2004, France (110 min)
Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, André Dussollier
“What about our ethics code?” Asks the play-it-by-the-book Police chief. “I’ve wiped my arse with that for years,” snarls back Klein (Depardieu), a friendless cop hungry for promotion. And so it goes, with Vrinks (a very Pacino-esque Auteuil) as Klein’s rival, the stage it set for the two officers to do whatever it takes to bring in a violent gang and win the chief’s job. Both have unorthodox approaches to securing information, which leads to a nasty circle of retribution.
36 sets its sights on the masculine thriller territory of Michael Mann, but unlike Heat there is no character shading, and the film, steeped in genre conventions, simply passes off tired clichés as short-hand. The breakneck velocity of plot points propels things forward, yet for all its violence the film is essentially anaemic. The set pieces don’t crackle, and an unrelenting score make it feel stylistically more akin to a car advert than cinema. Kate Taylor