Posted Jul 19 2018

Racer And The Jailbird - This Movie Doesn't Quite Rock

Dir: Michael R Roskam

Starring Mathias Schoenaerts, Adele Exarchopoulos, Karem Can 

Gigi (Schoenaerts – the Jailbird) meets Bibi (Exarchopoulos – the driver) and their attraction is both immediate and passionate. She races cars, he claims to import and export them. When she presses him for secrets, he tells her he’s a bank robbing gangster. One of these things is true.

The first half of Bullhead director Roskam’s movie is as invigorating and captivating as the powerful whirlwind romance between its central characters. With such gorgeous and sexy leads and the backdrop of both fast and furious motor racing and the beautiful Euro-locales, it’s easy to become swept up in this glamorous, romantic vision of their unfolding lives, complete with a tense and effective bank robbery – just to keep things spicy.

But when a more ambitious scheme goes awry – notably when our dream couple are apart – their lives start to unravel. And the film unfortunately seems determined to follow them.

The second and third acts of Roskam’s movie (it is identified on screen as “Gigi”, “Bibi” and “No Flowers”) lurch from such events as imprisonment, IVF, dog kicking, terminal illness and hallucinatory jail breaks. It moves from being a very straightforward romance with dangerous elements of the thriller genre, to an altogether more idiosyncratic beast which, despite the best efforts of its compulsively watchable leads, never manages to fully gell or satisfy in the way its first hour suggested it may.


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