Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Director: Cédric Jimenez
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Anaïs Demoustier, Sandrine Kiberlain
Genre: Vive la France

For a film inspired by true events, the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and the subsequent police hunt for the terrorists, no other film feels as real as November. Indeed, so edge-of-the-seat fascinating is the film it is almost more docudrama than biopic.

There is so much happening, with lots of tension, urgent conversations and rushing from scene to scene, that the only difficulty with following the film is keeping up with the subtitles. That’s no criticism of it – an American version could never compare as it would most likely involve lots of patriotic flag waving, good looking superstars and over-the-top action scenes.

November is also interesting from a pure and nerdy bureaucratic level. It shows why rules, structures and procedures matter. If not followed correctly, then things can go very wrong. This is as true for politicians as it is for police.

It’s not a spoiler that while the bad guys are ultimately caught or killed this is far from a happy ending. The terrorists achieve nothing but terror, the police “win” nothing but returning life to some sort of status quo. The cost to everyone involved, and not just in dollars, is massive. The only real winners are the French public who can at least get on with life, but the context of it is forever altered.

As a film, November is well worth watching. As an event, it’s something we’d never want to see again.

Rating: Cinq remerciements (five thank-yous)

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