PARTISAN | REVIEW

PARTISAN is a movie I have been keen to see ever since they released the first image and announced production. The cinematography just looks out of this world, plus Vincent Cassel, you just gotta love the guy. It is dark, it is gritty, and you would never imagine it, it is Australian. I could not make this one due to commitments, shakes head at disaster premiere for Mad Max, so Kernel Blake hit this one up. I will be seeing it after it releases next Thursday 28th in Australia on limited release from the folks at Madman Films. Cinemas screening it can be located at the bottom of the post via a link to PARTISAN’S home page. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 98mins. Enjoy Blake’s thoughts……….all the best………..JK.

 

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PARTISAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | AUSTRALIAN POSTER IMAGE

 

BY BLAKE CURRALL

Set in an apocalyptic wasteland overrun by maniacs in souped-up hot rods, a man named Max…wait, sorry…wrong film. Partisan, yes, set in a semi-apocalyptic, dystopian future (I think…) tells the story of Gergori (Vincent Cassel – OCEAN’S TWELVE, BLACK SWAN), a man living a life shut off from the bleak, dreary outside world in his bunker. Surrounding himself with a harem of women, Gregori trawls hospitals for single mothers who have just given birth and offers them sanctuary within his fortified walls to live a life of fun and games.

The one caveat is that Gregori gets to train these bastard children as assassins, sending these pint sized killing machines out into a landscape that would make a Russian gulag seem palatial in comparison.  One of the first children adopted by Gregori into his pre-pubescent murder cult is Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel- in his debut), who along with his mother, has grown up in Gregori’s secluded paradise seeing the world through his ‘fathers’ eyes, growing into his prized pupil.

 

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PARTISAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GREGORI (VINCENT CASSEL)

 

Alexander is like any pre-teen, playing with the other kids in the compound, sneaking out for soccer games and being deadly accurate with a high powered weapon. You know, typical kid stuff. All he has grown to know is the life inside the four walls of the hideout, with the rare excursion into the decaying environment outside to execute a hit on whoever Gregori deems worthy of a dirt nap. All of this is set to Gregori’s fostered culture of dependence and dismissal of any curiosity of the outside world.

When a new ‘mother’ and ‘brother’ join the ever expanding group, trouble starts a-brewin, when vocabulary challenged Leo takes a stand against the killing of a chicken for the family dinner table. His stand against the practices within the compound and Gregori’s authority, rub the patriarch up the wrong way showing the rage and terror hidden behind Cassel’s usual cool and strong demeanour. Alexander, seeing an outlet through Leo’s rebellion and Gregori’s treatment of the petulant child, begins to question the morality of his idolized father figure.

 

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PARTISAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ALEXANDER (JEREMY CHABRIEL)

 

With news of a biological brother on the way for Alexander, thanks to Gregori taking advantage of his horde of women, the youngster slowly begins to question his role in life and his own moral conscience, wondering if there is indeed more to life outside the walls and away from Gregori’s rule over him and his mother & unborn brother. A side trip to a deli, for his first taste of chocolate and a chance meeting with a boy from the outside world on the way home from a hit, all but seals the deal. Once his new baby brother is born, Alexander realizes it is time to man up and rise against his father that has sheltered him from the outside world for too long.

The feature film debut for Aussie director Ariel Kleiman, Partisan was co-written by his partner Sarah Cyngler and is a slow burn of the slowest order. Tense and gripping throughout, the pace rarely moves above glacial but is captivating enough and the performances so strong that you are right there with Alexander from his journey of innocent boy practicing assassinations with his adopted family, through to his awakening to the joys of a childhood filled with chocolate and friends instead of bullets and oppressive fathers.

 

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PARTISAN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ALEXANDER (JEREMY CHABRIEL) AND GREGORI (VINCENT CASSEL)

 

A winner of the special jury prize for Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival, Kleiman manages to capture the cold, bleak landscapes of a decrepit Georgia in a way that instills dread and foreboding, while also showing the compound in warm tones to emphasise the importance of family. The Vangelis-esque soundtrack also deserves a mention, the subdued strings building tension throughout the film.

Is this the brightest, most entertaining film you will ever see? No, you will need to go to your happy place after viewing it, but it is enjoyable and interesting with a typically solid performance by the great Cassel and a strong turn from youngster Chabriel in his feature film debut. Check it out if you can track down a screening and are looking for something a little away from the usual mainstream fare.

 

CINEMA LOCATIONS SCREENING PARTISAN

 

3 Pops