November: review that leaves Dujardin


On the evening of November 13, 2015, the service of the Paris anti-terrorist sub-directorate (SDAT) suddenly came into turmoil. At the Stade de France, at the Bataclan, in the streets of the 10th and 11th arrondissements, nine Islamic terrorists committed carnage, which cost the lives of 130 people and injured more than 400. Whereas the capital sinks into terror and chaos, the SDAT teams begin a race against time five days, to apprehend those responsible, their accomplices and prevent a second wave of dreaded attacks.

It is on this hunt that the story filmed by Jimenez focuses, and on this hunt exclusively. From its opening, which represents its various protagonists learning – some at the office, others during a run or at home – the extent of the attacks that are bloodying Paris, the film wants to reassure its viewer both about its intentions and about the care that he brings to their execution. His point of view will be, as in Bac Nord, exclusively that of the police, a chronicle of their feelings, their commitment and their mission, which will leave off-screen the violence of the attack, the obscenity of the attack.

Desktop Action Tornado

The director maintains this note of intent from the first to the last image, without ever departing from it. This is already a first step forward compared to what was his first film, which seemed more than once absolutely oblivious to the enormity of the speech he was making and how much he forbade any nuance worthy of the name in the debate to which he was de facto inviting himself. It must be said that by taking hold of an event as terrible as the one that occupies the heart of Novemberthe whole is placed in the footsteps of a cinema tradition which is not without going with a minimum of requirement.

November: Photo Jean Dujardin“The sore critics are very nice, but we were in Cannes, we”


For a long time now, international cinema has not been reluctant or more reluctant to explore the contemporary in order to extract formidable material for fiction. Reflective, contemplative, entertaining, introspective, spectacular or explanatorythese sometimes cathartic gestures have made it possible to accompany a number of events, historical, catastrophic or quite simply at odds with their time, via interpretations or recreations.

In recent years, productions such as Zero Dark Thirty, Deepwater, Boston Hunt and many others have focused on contexts, cataclysms or events that are as difficult as they are complex to grasp. In France, we are also witnessing a clear evolution, a phenomenon that is all the more interesting since until recent years, France seemed most chilly in terms of the review of reality.

November: Photo Anaïs DemoustierLike a Monday

Whether it is afraid of trivializing it, or is still under the influence of the old refrain of seventies academics designating spectacularization as an intellectual or political resignation, French cinema dreaded this type of production. He will have come there gradually, through devious means, the admirable State Exercise constituting a turning pointembodied very recently by proposals such as Kompromat, Goliath or Revoir Paris. November pushes its ambition further, by measuring itself against the now identified filming of a Kathryn Bigelow, while affirming a desire for reconstruction of great fidelity.

November: photo, Jean Dujardin, Jérémie Renier“And that’s where you bring in the accused”


And for forty minutes, the feature film is on the way to achieving this. His staging follows a very simple principle, but always demanding both in terms of editing and sense of balance, sinceit focuses exclusively on the action of the characters, then the consequences of these on themselves, on their bodies, their diction, their attitude. When he stores up the electricity of a command center or follows in the footsteps of Anaïs Demoustier, an impeccable young investigator whom circumstances push to glimpse her limits, the director struggles to record energies, capture motivations.

Hence an unusual evocative power, a general intensity that is growing. Especially since the general tone allows the entire cast, Jean Dujardin in the lead, to give the best of themselves without getting lost in the meanders of false junk sobriety. Everyone stays in their place and gives what they can to help us grasp the dizzying hunt that took shape on the night of November 13. But, a sign that the conductor is decidedly more hungry for fiction than for reconstitution, it is the protagonist who offers him the most flesh to reinterpret, “Sonia”, embodied by the stupefying Lyna Khoudri, who shoots with the more obviously its pin of the game.

November: photo, Lyna KhoudriA veil of discord

Unfortunately, November is doomed to gradually wither, for three major reasons. First of all, this progressive tension, based on long focal lengths, a carried camera and punctuation through editing, does not quite suit Jimenez’s style. We saw it with his two previous efforts, the one who says he is influenced by De Palma, Scorsese and Henri Verneuil is at ease with anything that allows him to give breadth to the action, when the geography of a sequence depends as much on the space in which it is inserted as on the characters who populate it.

An equation absent here, save for the opening and conclusion which do what they can to bring some pure jitters back to the story. But faced with a narrative devoid of substantial material dramaturgystuck between his anthracite offices and his nocturnal alcoves, it is hard to feel the taste for the well-placed emphasis of the filmmaker.

November: photo, Sandrine Kiberlain, Jean Dujardin“You may be innocent, but you sweat like a priest in the stroller lounge”


More annoying, we gradually come to wonder if his angle of attack is not totally contradictory with the reality of what he describes. Cédric Jimenez has integrity for him to recount a grueling investigation carried out over 5 days, representing it for what it is: a lamentable fiasco. From the ineffective intelligence services, to the inability of the services to respect their own procedures or to differentiate between small dealers and dangerous jihadists, up to a vast arrest turning into urban guerrilla warfare tinged with carnage, the French institutions do not emerge from the film. .

And yet, the script, like the plotting, follow the operations as if they were part of the ideal breeding ground for a one-sided tribute. It could be a political choice, the affirmation of a point of view assumed with its share of radicalism, even of patriotism, but while the plot progresses inexorably towards its pyrotechnic resolution, we come to doubt of its director’s ability to completely grasp the nature of what he is bringing to the screen.

November: photoIt remains to find who will play the pizza delivery

Evidenced by the recent controversy and legal battle, which preceded the release of November, led by “Sonia”, a source thanks to which the SDAT proved to be more effective than a hen with a knife in terms of anti-terrorism. She took the matter to court in summary proceedings, distressed to see herself represented heavily veiled on the screen, an appearance at odds with realitywhich will be worth to the production to urgently add a card to warn its spectators in front of this imprecision.

Tributes with variable geometry thereforefor an ambitious film, often immersive, but with a badly cut dimension, which called for a sharp eye, capable of portraying the complexity of a world on the verge of conflagration, rather than the pyrotechnic gluttony of an artisan convinced of don’t do politics.

November: poster

November: review that leaves Dujardin