If he fails to hold us in suspense until the end, Kompromat by Jérôme Salle is worth the realism of his portrait of present-day Russia, with the anti-hero Gille Lellouche, the favorite Snoopy of French cinema.
A dance performance in which two men kiss in white underpants can have consequences that you cannot imagine. Especially in Russia… This is the not trivial starting point of this thriller “ very freely inspired – as it is carefully written in the credits – from the true story of a former director of the Alliance Française of Irkutsk in Siberia. Our favorite Snoopy of French cinema, Gilles Lellouche – a great masochistic actor who loves the tiles that fall on his head – will be served. Dumped by his wife (this is perhaps what displeased the real director in question in the scenario), he will find himself “compromised” by a plot by the KSB, the new KGB of a certain Cheese fries whose face we see hanging under the rear view mirror of a funny taxi towards freedom… (shh…)
Gilles Lellouche, our favorite Snoopy of French cinema
Matthew Roussel (that’s his name in the film) will therefore find himself accused of creating and possessing pedophile content for having programmed a show that is too progressive for Russia. Imprisoned, beaten up (but Gilles Lellouche plays it very well, we see that he likes it) and above all condemned to escape on pain of ending his life under the steamroller of a parody of murderous justice… We sometimes feel that the scenario must have been difficult to establish between the true story that inspired it and the developments in fiction, which are not always believable (the trunk scene, or the rather grotesque finale).
Political realism and discovery by Joanna Kulig
But what makes the interest of this back-to-school entertainment, in addition to the confirmation of the overwhelming (and crushed) talent of Gilles Lellouche, and the discovery of the Slavic charm of Joanna Kulig, is that it is one of the last testimonies of contemporary Russian society and its internal contradictions, just before the invasion of Ukraine, but already after the annexation of Crimea. The rural landscapes and cities of Siberia, the prisons of Moscow, the cultural differences between Russia and the West or the relics of the atrocious war in Chechnya are very well documented there, up to the diplomatic horror of the embassy French, embodied by Louis Do de Lancquesaing… With the help of Caryl Ferey to the screenplay, tackling the workings of Russian society as he had done with South Africa with Zulu, (even if the film had to be shot in Lithuania). Even if the thriller part does not totally convince us, the visual ambition and the political realism of this Krompromat well worth the trip.
Kompromat by Jérôme Salle (Fr, 2h07) with Gilles Lellouche, Joanna Kulig, Mikhaïl Gorevoi, Judith Henry, Elisa Lasowski, Aleksey Gorbunov, Louis Do de Lencquesaing… Released September 7.