The Army of Crime
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|The Army of Crime|
2009 poster advertising the French release
|Directed by||Robert Guédiguian|
|Produced by||Dominique Barneaud|
|Written by||Robert Guédiguian
Serge Le Péron
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Edited by||Bernard Sasia|
|Distributed by||Studio Canal (FR)
Optimum Releasing (UK)
|Running time||139 minutes|
The Army of Crime (French: L'Armée du crime) is a 2009 French drama-war film directed by Robert Guédiguian and based on a story by Serge Le Péron, one of three credited for the screenplay. It received a wide release in France on 16 September 2009 and opened in the United States in 2010. The film deals with the events of the Affiche Rouge ("red poster") affair. The title was taken from the caption on a propaganda poster, in which the Nazis sought to present prominent French Resistance fighters as foreign criminals; the caption read "Liberators? Liberation by the army of crime".
In Paris during the German occupation, an ill-assorted group of resistance fighters commits disorganized attacks. Missak Manouchian, an Armenian exile, is ready to help but is reluctant to kill; for him, being ready to die but not to kill is an ethical matter. However, circumstances lead him to abandon his reluctance. Under his leadership, the group structures and plans its actions and thus the Manouchian network is born. The film traces the story of this group, from its shaping to the arrest and execution of its members in 1944.
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- Virginie Ledoyen as Mélinée Manouchian
- Simon Abkarian as Missak Manouchian
- Robinson Stévenin as Marcel Rayman
- Jean-Pierre Darroussin as Inspecteur Pujol
- Lola Naymark as Monique
- Ariane Ascaride as Madame Elek
- Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet as Thomas Elek
- Yann Trégouët as Le Commissaire David
- Ivan Franek as Feri Boczov
- Olga Legrand as Olga Bancic
- Boris Bergman as Monsieur Rayman
- Patrick Bonnel as Monsieur Elek
- Adrien Jolivet as Henri Krasucki
- Gérard Meylan as Inspecteur Mathelin
- Horaţiu Mălăele as Monsieur Dupont
- Lucas Belvaux as Gilles
Opening in 250 screens, The Army of Crime debuted at a disappointing number 7 at the French box office, making it the second highest grossing new release of that week following District 9, which debuted at the number one spot with almost twice as many screens. The film grossed just over 772,000 Euros in its first five days of release and as of 20 October 2009 has attracted 349,940 viewers to French theaters.
It was screened out of competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival on 17 May 2009. The film received largely positive reviews from French critics, with the website AlloCiné awarding it a score of 3.52 out of 5.00 based on twenty-five major reviews. Positif's Jean A. Gili praised the film as "spectacular", while Libération's Didier Péron lamented the fact that the director seemed "paralyzed with respect" towards his subject, praising the young cast for its efforts in making the film seem fresh. In Paris Match, Alain Spira similarly stated that the film suffered from classicism and that emotion had trouble reaching the audience. In Première, Véronique Le Bris criticized the time taken to introduce the various characters. In one of the more negative reviews, Pierre Murat wrote for Télérama that while respectful, the film was insignificant and looked like a TV movie.
The Army of Crime fared well with international critics, with the website Screenrush awarding it a score of four out of five based on six major British reviews. Peter Brunette of The Hollywood Reporter wrote a positive review after seeing the film at Cannes, saying, "Though it drags here and there and is a bit flat in places, the film is solidly made and for the most part quite involving". In The Independent, Anthony Quinn described the film as "sombre and gripping," while Dave Calhoun wrote in Time Out that the film is "always fascinating". In some of the worst reviews, The Sun compared the film to Inglourious Basterds, stating that Tarantino's film was "a lot more fun," and The Financial Times's Nigel Andrews mused that it felt "like every resistance movie you have ever seen".