Bluray Review – Bastille Day (2015)

Bastille Day ' Idris Elba'
Please don’t make it the fact that this film now has negative connotations due to the recent terror attacks in Nice put you off from seeing this film. Make it the fact that it is a disjointed, not very likeable, cliched mess.

Directed by James Watkins (Eden Lake, The Woman in Black), Idris Elba plays “reckless and irresponsible” American CIA operative Sean Briar who is one step ahead of the French police in getting to the bottom of a fatal terrorist bombing in Paris. The apparent bomber is n’er do well pickpocket Michael Mason (Richard Madden), who gets more than he bargains for when he snatches the wrong bag from bomb-mule Zoe (Charlotte Le Bon). Teaming up as an unlikely duo, the two chase around (mostly drab) Paris locations to uncover the plot, pursued by well-connected ‘terrorists’, led by Rafi Bertrand (Thierry Godard), who actually have a much greedier ulterior motive

This has everything a good thriller should have, but nothing notably unique about the film or the way it’s done past the protagonists and some of the cinematography. Where the film clunks to the floor is in the paint-by-numbers storyline and dialogue. Some of the scenes (particularly one with CIA boss Karen Dacre (Kelly Reilly) are utterly predictable and others (like a sniper attempt to shoot Mason) so jaw-droopingly inept as to quash any sense of tension. The finale, featuring a Bastille Day storming of the fascist banking citadel single-handedly by Zoe, like some modern day Marianne, is pretty ludicrous.

The 1080p transfer is another top shelf effort from studiocanal. Every single hair on their heads (and Idris’ face) is as plain as day, the action scenes really pop and each gunshot is earth-shaking. The only features on the disc are a couple of interviews, one with director Watkins and one with both Idris Elba and Richard Madden. They’re insightful enough but it would have been better to see a making of, maybe a commentary.

To a casual filmgoer, it’s nothing much more than a bit of mindless fun, which it pretty much delivers but to someone who reviews movies (which is the name of the game) it’s nothing more than completely forgettable.

Peter Fletcher

action, drama | UK, 2016 | 15 |Studiocanal | 29th August 2016 (UK) | Dir. James Watkins | Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Kelly Reilly, Charlotte Le Bon, José Garcia,Thierry Godard