‘Bastille Day’ (2016, 15)

As the newest spy-thriller film to enter cinemas, does ‘Bastille Day’ live up to other films in this popular genre?

Set in Paris, ‘Bastille Day’ follows the story of pickpocket Michael Mason (Richard Madden) who meets CIA agent Sean Briar (Idris Elba) and together they find themselves foiling a terrorist plot that mirrors the French Revolution 400 years ago.

First of – Idris Elba is amazing in this film. He’s already been rumoured to play James Bond after Daniel Craig and if the rumours come true I’m really excited. His character in this was a gritty, violent hero and the only way he would’ve been better was if he was French. Part of the story was that Briar worked for a CIA branch within Paris and I felt that this was out-of-place. I could’ve just about lived with an American person working for the French, but a whole branch of American Intelligence inside the capital city and interfering with its security? A bit too far-fetched for me.

The plot of this film is quite strong too. It’s not too complex and the terrorists’ plot is easily understandable, unlike some other spy-films where the villains’ plan isn’t particularly cohesive. This may be down to the short run-time; a mere ninety-two minutes compared to the two-hours and twenty-eight minutes of 2015’s ‘Spectre’. Although it made the film fast-paced and understandable, I would’ve preferred ‘Bastille Day’ to be slightly longer as when the credits rolled I felt as if I was missing something, although I don’t know what.

As this film was set entirely in France, it was mainly subtitled. However, I didn’t think this was a bad thing as it added a sense of realism to an otherwise quite unrealistic story. It was better than supposedly French people speaking English with bad French accents. Because of this, though, your eyes are drawn to the bottom of the screen a lot and away from the main action in the film. This is a potential drawback, but I’m willing to give up a split-second of action for natural sounding French voices in Paris.

There are a few unrealistic scenes in this film, but my favourite was perhaps one of the grittiest and most action-packed of the film – the Van Fight. Quite late on in the film, Briar and Mason get taken into a van to be taken somewhere. After a few tense moments, Briar, Mason and a few others break out into a fight in the back of the van, all while the vehicle races around Paris. It lasts a good five minutes and I loved every second, its gritty, violent and everything ‘Bastille Day’ promised to be.

So what do I think of this film? To a certain extent, I enjoyed it. However, i felt it was too short and in some instances too unrealistic, meaning I didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped. For this, I’m giving ‘Bastille Day’ seven-out-of-ten.




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