MiloGlaister’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh boy... I have a feeling this is going to be an unpopular review...
Let me start by saying I'm far too late to this and I'm extremely glad to have watched it, because it is a very good film. However I honestly found it quite hard to love, and 90% of it just didn't hugely resonate with me unfortunately.
I will say the last 2 minutes of this film were intensely powerful and really brilliant cinema. I nearly gave this film 4 stars off that one scene alone. But I just felt like some of that energy was lacking elsewhere throughout.
I'm happy to admit that the fault may be with me, but I feel like I just missed the trick with this. If I'm being brutal, I feel like this is one of those films that succumbs to being generally overhyped, so that newcomers feel they HAVE to love it. That being said, I am very much looking forward to re-watching this, now with the benefit of hindsight, to see if it has a different affect on me.
But with negativity put aside, this is still a very good film in my opinion. Just, personally, not a great one.
Some of the inventiveness of the narrative lens of camera movement and framing throughout is really genius. A couple of moments really stand out to me as exceptionally good. As I've said previously, when modern films decide to employ black and white for particular affect, it can be really brilliant; La Haine was an example of this.
On top of that, the acting in this was really impeccable. So much so that I actually found myself sincerely disliking most of the characters in this. Again, maybe this is my issue, but I found Vinz in particular to just be an irredeemable prick who's company I didn't really want to be around, and who's redemption I didn't really care about, (which is a huge compliment to Vincent Cassel's acting prowess by the way).
[SPOILER] But in the end I just felt that Vinz got what he deserved honestly. Good riddance.
The one character in this I was genuinely interested in and had empathy for was Hubert. He is, in my opinion, the true main character of this film, and I was frustrated at times that he seemed overshadowed when the story moved elsewhere. A lot of the narrative of this just seemed a bit rambling, and it felt to me like a lot of tension was wasted.
However that Siberian shit anecdote from the old man was top class.