by Cedric Jimenez
French film, 1 h 45
There was a risk in tackling so early on a subject whose memory remains extremely painful for the victims and their families, as evidenced by the trial of the November 13 attacks. Cédric Jimenez, a specialist in action thrillers, got around the difficulty by focusing on the work of the police officers of the anti-terrorist sub-directorate (Sdat) to find the two terrorists on the run – including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, considered the mastermind of the attacks at the time. .
The film begins at the very moment when the slaughter ends at the Bataclan, when all the phones start ringing at the same time in the premises of this elite unit. He therefore plunges us into immersion alongside the investigators during the five days of the hunt, until the attack on the building in Saint-Denis where the two men blew themselves up by triggering their explosive belts.
Cédric Jimenez breathes rhythm and breath into this reconstruction
In doing so, Cédric Jimenez, whose previous film had sparked controversy, carefully avoids any overbidding. He leaves the attack out of frame and his camera stops modestly at the door of the hospital rooms where the investigators carry out a patient collection of testimonies from the survivors, such as the color of the sneakers of one of the assailants who will prove so precious afterwards. Because every detail counts in this real race against time which has to deal with pressure from political leaders and the vagaries of the terrain, the many false leads but also incredible strokes of luck.
If the film is content to scrupulously restore the concrete of the investigation, the director, far from being intimidated, manages to breathe rhythm and breath into it thanks in particular to a beautiful editing work. It is served by a prestigious cast that fades behind the collective and highlights, around Anaïs Demoustier and Jérémie Renier, a generation of promising young actors – Lyna Khoudri, Sofian Khammes, Sami Outalbali, Stéphane Bak and Raphaël Quenard – , all remarkable in this role of shadow police.