I don’t know what’s happening to me and my taste in movies. At first, I couldn’t stand these breezy and dumb French action comedies but now I freaking love them! The Takedown AKA Loin du Periph is an old-school buddy cop movie exploring modern issues. We’re talking about the things like the rise of the far-right, crime, racism, drugs, and other fun stuff. It uses this lighthearted approach to defuse the atmosphere around these contentious subjects and tries to have an honest discussion about them. And then they start fiddling dead guy’s dick during the autopsy. I mean, he has his reasons and they are fairly reasonable but I just wanted to mention that.
Yes, my dear Toto, we’re not in Kansas, we’re in France and they do things differently here. So, you can count on a couple of graphic scenes along with some nudity. It’s so funny to watch a movie that’s willing to show this kind of stuff and not lean into it. I mean, Hollywood’s idea would be in for a penny, in for a pound but they do that here. The Takedown is actually a sequel to a 2012 movie On the Other Side of the Tracks, also starring Omar Sy and Laurent Lafitte. I didn’t know this until the movie was over and I started looking for similar ones. So, you don’t need to know anything about the original in order to enjoy this one.
You already know the story, two cops who don’t get along will have to solve a tough case in unfamiliar territory. This time, the unfamiliar territory is a small rural town in the middle of nowhere. Just get through the opening ten minutes and I swear the movie will get better. You can actually feel your brain turning off and you slowly going into this strange mode of being. It’s a very relaxing and pleasant feeling, to be honest. The cinematography is excellent along with production values so that helps with things. I feel like they cranked up the saturation to the maximum and then decided that it was too much.
Ousmane and Monge may not have a lot in common but at least they’re both good police officers. Working in Paris has toughened them up and they will need all their skills because their new case is a strange one. A trail of blood leads them to a small town in the middle of France where crime seems to be nonexistent thanks to the new mayor. However, appearances are most certainly deceiving as there’s more afoot than anyone realizes.
A huge part of the appeal of The Takedown is the charisma of our two leads. Omar Sy and Laurent Lafitte had great on-screen chemistry along with Izïa Higelin who plays Alice. They’re perfectly suited for this style of bizarre mainstream action comedy that comes off as something entirely else. I found it fascinating to watch their attempts at physical comedy as I had no idea what was supposed to be funny in these scenes. I would never come up with those ideas, not in a million years. And I haven’t even mentioned all the awkward jokes about racism and sexuality.
This is a definition of a movie that is not to be taken seriously. They didn’t take themselves seriously that much is certain. With a running time of just under two hours, The Takedown is a bit longer than your average buddy cop movie. And on top of that, it’s over-edited, so there are quite a few issues here. However, I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I was freaking straight! I can only imagine lighting up a fat joint and disappearing into the screen.
Finally, I have to mention a couple of technical elements of this movie that blew me away. It uses these new drones that enable us to see the chase scenes from a totally different angle. And speaking of chase scenes, the one towards the end of the movie on a winding mountain road was phenomenal. Known as Les Grand Goulets, this unbelievably scenic and quite deadly road was closed down back in 2005.
The finale was even better and an homage to another popular French movie The Crimson Rivers, also starring Lafitte as the dean’s son. It even features the same odd-looking building that I finally managed to identify. Known as the house on stilts or long columns, that’s the Pavilion Keller.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Writers: Stéphane Kazandjian, Pierre Le Coz, Franck Gastambide