Mathieu Kassovitz’s Rebellion tells the true story of the 1998 clash between separatist tribes in New Caledonia, the Melanesian territory of France, and the authorities in Paris.
Kassovitz plays Philippe Legorjus, a commando captain sent to negotiate a peaceful solution whose efforts are hampered by the Paris-bound politicians’ desire to look strong during France’s presidential elections and the separatists’ unwillingness to back down.
Rebellion was released in France in 2011 and is getting its belated UK release courtesy of Lionsgate UK.
The wait was well worth it.
More thriller than action film, Rebellion is a carefully balanced and nuanced story of one man’s efforts to find a workable, peaceful resolution while being undermined by vested interests on both sides.
The script, which Kassovitz co-wrote, neatly avoids taking sides, opting instead to depict the gradients of opinion within any organisation and struggle.
Kassovitz’s Philippe appears in almost every scene and the entire story is told from his perspective, the result is so effective that the audience feels every set-back and frustration as deeply as he does.
Rebellion is in cinemas from April 19th
Our verdict: 4/5