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Le Petit Lieutenant

By Caroline Planque
Posted January 19, 2007

Nathalie Baye in Le Petit Lieutenant
All photos courtesy of The Cinema Guild Inc.

Forget the super cop movies. Xavier Beauvois’ latest police flick shows it as real as it gets. 

Young Lieutenant Antoine, (Jalil Lespert of Ressources Humaines) fresh out of police school, finally gets to leave the sleepy town of Le Havre to join a crime unit in Paris. He believes that life is finally looking up and bound to become exciting. Under the supervision of Caroline, (Nathalie Baye who won the CÚsar for Best Actress) a veteran policewoman with whom he strikes an unlikely friendship, he learns that boredom is also part of the game, and that if he’s lucky, he might handle a handful of big cases through his whole career. But violence is never where we expect it, and one fatal mistake through an apparently routine investigation will force everyone to reexamine their lives.  

Beauvois’ realist depiction of Antoine and his fellow detectives shows us the effects of extraordinary situations on ordinary lives and demystifies the myth of the all-powerful cop. A must see.

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