‘The Brigade’ (‘Les Hommes du feu’): Film Review

Roschdy Zem and Emilie Dequenne play a span of French firefighters in this StudioCanal-backed underline from executive Pierre Jolivet (‘The Night Watchman’).

A full-blown soak inside a operative French glow station, The Brigade (Les Hommes du feu) deserves credit for a scarcely documentary approach it captures a life-risking and life-saving quotidian of a patrol of firefighters formed in a Gallic southwest.

But as a thespian thriller, this muted bid from writer-director Pierre Jolivet (The Night Watchmen) suffers from general storytelling and a really telefilm-style glaze — to a indicate that it mostly feels reduction like a film than like a fictionalized training video. A decent expel lead by Roschdy Zem (Point Blank) and Emilie Dequenne (Rosetta) should give this StudioCanal recover a slight pull during a internal box office, though this is clearly no Backdraft or The Towering Inferno or heck, Ladder 49.

Even a French-language title, that translates to Men of a Fire, is a rather lifeless one that conveys a film’s singular vision. And all a lines of cliched dialogue, such as an sell between a fireman and his arch as they conduct toward another timberland fire (“I know we shouldn’t contend this, though it’s kind of pleasing to demeanour at.” “Yes…but from a distance.”), frequency remonstrate us that this is top-tier moviemaking.

To a credit, The Brigade does take good heedfulness to uncover us what it’s like to work in a Gallic caserne de pompiers, that fundamentally functions like your normal American firehouse, with a few important differences: One, French firemen also offer as EMTs and are customarily initial responders for any vital collision or medical emergency; two, while on a pursuit they go by a severe daily earthy training module (you can see them jogging around any vital French city any morning); and three, they seem to splash a lot of red booze during a firehouse, possibly they’re off avocation or on.

The latter might usually be since a patrol featured in The Brigade is stationed nearby a southern city of Carcassonne, in a tiny city surrounded by rolling vineyards. (There’s indeed a stage in a film where they try to rescue a rancher who’s depressed into a vat of grapes.) But even if a firemen are shown to be celebration robust bad boys — including, during one point, fornicating with dipsomaniac girls in a locker room — Jolivet mostly revels in their daily heroism, possibly it’s saving lives or putting out a array of brush fires plaguing a area.

In terms of plot, a film especially focuses on dual characters: Benedicte (Dequenne), a tough though romantic firewoman who joins a organisation and afterwards flubs one of her initial rescue missions, environment a sexist colleague, Xavier (Michael Abiteboul), opposite her; and a stoical though kindhearted maestro arch Philippe (Zem), who tries to find a arsonist behind a internal conflagrations.

Both stories are rubbed in an intensely slight demeanour by Jolivet, who seems most some-more meddlesome in capturing a nitty-gritty of farming firefighter life than in formulating any kind of torment or account depth. Details such as a approach a patrol rebellious medical emergencies (including delivering a span of twins in one feel-good sequence), or a approach they conflict a fire in a housing plan filled with indignant bottle-throwing residents, are distant some-more convincing than plotlines that conduct to predicted places and discourse that’s mostly risibly on-the-nose.

A kitschy measure by Adrien Jolivet (the director’s son) doesn’t assistance matters either, nonetheless well-spoken widescreen camerawork by Jerome Almeras (In a House) creates good use of a naturalistic settings and scorched-earth landscapes of a Languedoc region. Other tech contributions are solid, and The Brigade does attain in re-creating a harrowing daily ordeals that a firemen (and woman) knowledge while on a job. It’s usually when a film switches from fact-based existence to pristine novella that a spectator winds adult removing burned.

Production companies: 2.4.7. Films, StudioCanal, France 3 Television
Cast: Roschdy Zem, Emilie Dequenne, Michael Abiteboul, Guillaume Labbe
Director, screenwriter: Pierre Jolivet
Producers: Marc-Antoine Robert, Xavier Rigault
Director of photography: Jerome Almeras
Production designers: Emile Ghigo, Marianne Arsa Thomas
Costume designers: Sonia Sival, Marion Meseguer
Editor: Yves Deschamps
Composer: Adrien Jolivet
Casting directors: Michael Laguens, Agnes Alberny
Sales: StudioCanal

In French
90 minutes