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The Crack Magazine

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Rodeo

Director: Lola Quivoron

Stars: Julie Ledru, Yannis Lafki, Antonia Buresi

This debut from French director-cowriter Quivoron is pitched curiously between Dardenne brothers’ social realism and high-octane heist movie. Impressive newcomer Ledru is Julia, a rebellious young woman from a rough French banlieue who finds a sense of community in an unexpected place. A wily motorbike thief, Julia charms wealthy bike salesman by posing as a naïve potential buyer, before persuading them to let her take a test ride and scooting off. Gradually, she manages to gain acceptance in an all-male gang of dirt bike riders who take part in rodeos, performing stunts and wheelies next to the highway. She makes a particular impression on biker Kaïs (Lafki). The gang, she discovers, work for an imprisoned gangster. Julia bonds with the gangster’s wife Ophélie (Buresi), then, spotting a truck on the highway containing a shipment of high-end bikes, she concocts a plan for the gang to steal them. It feels a little unfocussed at times, but Quivoron delivers a memorable depiction of the rodeo scene’s gritty demimonde bolstered by some naturalistic performances from the non-professional cast, Ledru in particular is a real find. The vérité depiction of the milieu sits a little incongruously though with the action sequences, thrillingly shot by Raphaël Vandenbussche, as the gang attempt to steal bikes from the moving truck.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm 

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