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Published on October 2nd, 2009 | by Niamh

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Army of Crime: review

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Army of Crime is a French World War II film, featuring a variety of young men in occupied France trying to get their own back on the Nazis they are forced to live side by side with.

It was described to me by someone as the ‘real’ Inglourious Basterds.

The men, mostly immigrants to France in fact, are eventually pulled together by the Resistance movement into an underground revolutionary unit, headed by Missak Manouchian an Armenian man long settled in France. Missak, against violence or blood shed of any kind at first, slowly comes to embrace the guerilla warfare favoured by the younger men in his command. These men and one women become heroes of sorts, avoiding capture by the French police and German soldiers equally. When pressure is exerted on the local french Chief Inspector from on high to crack down and pull off something spectacular he has them all arrested. As a propaganda exercise, the French police decide to use these people as an example to the rest of the Resistance movement in France labelling them L’Armée du Crime (Army of Crime) and posting a headshot of each one of them on a large poster to be distributed around the country. Twenty one men and one woman are sentenced to death and were shot in February 1944.

The setting of 1940s occupied France is an interesting one, French living alongside German soldiers, it’s all very civil but with an underlying current of fear and hatred. Behind the scenes of people playing music of an evening at home you have a printing press in the back room rattling off flyers for the Resistance. I found myself a little disconcerted and on guard when I came out of the cinema, watching crowds and looking to see who was the man with gun. No one at Central Bank anyway thankfully 🙂

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Army of Crime, while enjoyable, is somewhat long at 2 hours 20 minutes and certainly something you could enjoy as much on the small screen on a Saturday afternoon as you would in the cinema.

Army of Crime is showing in cinemas nationwide from today, 2 October 2009.

Thank you to Element Pictures for inviting me to see the film.

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About the Author

You can reach me on niamh@culch.ie :)



2 Responses to Army of Crime: review

  1. Niall says:

    Excellent. I look forward to seeing this when it comes out on DVD. Won’t get chance to catch it with English subtitles elsewhere. I love that period of history.

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