What’s your first association when you see a group of guys strapping plastic explosives to a manhole cover in the woods? Yes, you’re right, The Crew AKA Braqueurs is another French crime thriller done by the book. We will be following a very efficient crew of robbers as they start slipping. The characters are stereotypical and you have your strong leader, funny sidekick and the fuckup. And while the main story is a familiar one, there’s always a twist that keeps it somewhat authentic and engaging. Once you develop a taste for this particular sub-genre, the only question is will it be more humor or less.
Braqueurs is not as gritty as Cash Truck for example. Although it has this foreboding atmosphere that gets darker and darker as the movie unfolds. There’s no redundant character development or pretend melodrama here. You don’t have to empathize with them or even find them likable. I still can’t figure out what exactly is it that gives these French crime movies this morally ambiguous approach. They’re not making these criminals seem cool and then again they’re not making them uncool. Like they figured out a perfect balance when you’re telling a story from the other side of the law.
For almost all of his life Yanis has been working hard on only one thing, robbing cash trucks. Robbing cash trucks and remaining undetected by the police to be more precise. He and he’s crew are very professional and skilled at what they do. However, after their latest job things will start to go wrong for them. Yanis knew that such a thing is coming and he was getting ready for it for some time. The only problem is that he didn’t know just how big of a fuck up this is going to be.
One of the things that I loved in Braqueurs is the fact that it doesn’t pretend to be something else than a 80-minute crime movie. It builds its tension carefully with both with music and great editing. The stunts and shootouts are nice and juicy, with the accent on reality. Something that’s not surprising when you consider the fact that the director is Julien Leclercq. Some five years earlier he made a phenomenal action movie based on true events about French special forces The Assault. He used the same consultants from GIGN for this one too.
Leclercq was fascinated by the new breed of robbers that emerged in the 21st century. These are not your flamboyant and loose gangsters from the seventies and even eighties. They are very careful about not to tip off the police and actually paranoid about every aspect of their life. Special attention is dedicated to cash flow and most of them have multiple regular bussiness that they use to launder the money.
Jérôme Pierrat’s documentary New Caïds de Cités is the one that served as an inspiration for a lot of elements we’re going to see in this movie. You might wanna check out Olivier Marchal’s Les Lyonnais to see how the old school carried themselves back then. And if you’re looking for more of the new school check out Nokas, based on true events.
Finally, Braqueurs tells a story about immigrants with just a couple of white faces, which is a pleasant and much welcomed change from the usual cast we see in these movies. Sami Bouajila was phenomenal as Yanis along with Kaaris whose actually a rapper. A rapper who’s also a pretty solid actor, you might wanna check out his performances in Lukas and Bronx.
Director: Julien Leclercq
Writer: Julien Leclercq, Simon Moutairou
Cast: Sami Bouajila, Guillaume Gouix, Youssef Hajdi, Alice de Lencquesaing, Kaaris, Rabah Nait Oufella
Fun Facts: The scenes of the city were shot during ten days in the district of Rougemont, in Sevran. Kaaris made sure that the population of the district welcomes the filming team.