In Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan, Vincent Cassel reminds us why he’s one of France’s greatest actors. He’s gained a reputation for playing brash, violent psychopaths, but Gregori – the father figure of an isolated community with a sinister purpose – is a more insidious kind of evil.
The problem is that the rest of the movie can’t live up to him. The idea is intriguing, but it feels as if Kleiman has given us only a sketch with nothing to flesh it out. The biggest issue is Jeremy Chabriel; simply too bland as a young protégé for the audience to form an emotional bond.
There’s a fine line between fascinating and frustrating, and Partisan too often ends up on the wrong side of it. Still, fans of Cassel will have plenty to enjoy here.
CAST: Vincent Cassel, Jeremy Chabriel, Florence Mezzara, Alex Bagalanskiy
DIRECTOR: Ariel Kleiman
WRITERS: Sarah Cyngler, Ariel Kleiman
SYNOPSIS: Alexander (Chabriel), a boy who has been raised in a sequestered commune, finds that his increasing unwillingness to fall in line puts him on a collision course with Gregori (Cassel), the society’s charismatic and domineering leader.