Violently dull, and then just violent, Madame Courage is a film with nothing new to say.
Its mood of stasis interrupted by extreme violence is reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn, but without the style. Meanwhile, its visual environment of handheld cameras and rubble-strewn streets evokes neo-realism without the charm.
Another major mistake is in spending so much of the narrative following a lead with so little appeal. Omar (Djemil) is a thief and drug addict – the Madame Courage of the title is Artane tablets, popular in Algeria – but he’s no roguish antihero or sympathetic doomed youth.
Madame Courage reaches for the heights of a gritty tragedy, but falls well short in a directionless mess of a film.
CAST: Adlane Djemil, Lamia Bezouaoui, Leïla Tilmatine
DIRECTOR: Merzak Allouache
WRITER: Merzak Allouache
SYNOPSIS: Omar, an Algerian street thief, develops a dangerous fascination with a girl he robs.