Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Kerem Can
Running time: 130 mins
Release date: Le Fidèle (original title) 4 October 2017 (London Film Festival)
RACER AND THE JAILBIRD is the title which has been given overseas for this movie, but on home turf it’s called Le Fidèle.
The London Film Festival played host to the movie, which is Belgium’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 90th Academy Awards. It is the second film by director Michaël R. Roskam and actor Matthias Schoenaerts to be selected by Belgium and such was the buzz surrounding the movie, the film was chosen to represent the country before it even had an official screening!
RACER AND THE JAILBIRD is a movie that has it all: love, crime and action, all wrapped up in a taut and twisty thriller-come-romance from the Belgian director of BULLHEAD and THE DROP (both of which starred Schoenaerts).
The Racer is Bénédicte, known as Bibi (Adèle Exarchopoulos), an outgoing, young racing driver and the daughter of a wealthy construction magnate. The Jailbird is Gigi (Matthias Schoenaerts), a handsome playboy with, it seems, time and money to burn, but there is still much more to him than meets the eye.
It may seem obvious from the onset; they fall in love despite her initial resistance which lasts all of 20 seconds. However, when Bibi finds out what Gigi is up to on one of his weekends away – and when one of those weekends goes disastrously wrong – their relationship hangs in the balance and it is put to the test.
No one can say he didn’t warn her about his extra-curricular activities: after spending the night together Bibi asks him to tell her a secret he has never shared before. He confesses he robs banks, but of course she feels as though he is joking, when in fact he couldn’t have been more honest with her at that moment in time.
With a script by director Roskam together with Jacques Audiard collaborators Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré, RACER AND THE JAILBIRD does not disappoint and has a little bit of everything. It has the turbo-charged, poignant moments, coupled with outstanding performances from the two leads. They ooze the necessary chemistry that make their story believable.
Schoenaerts is such an impressive actor in all that he does and he definitely rises to to the occasion with his strong performance in this one. He is garnering the reputation of being a fearless actor and it is easy to see why.
Exarchopoulos is as equally mesmerising and believable in her role and after her performance here, no doubt we will see even more of her in European cinema.
Overall, if you are looking for a film that has it all then RACER AND THE JAILBIRD delivers. It oozes style, passion and the speed packs-an-adrenaline-punch. Michaël R. Roskam has done it again!