Two French policemen, one investigating a grisly murder at a remote mountain college, the other working on the desecration of a young girl's grave by skinheads, are brought together by the clues from their respective cases. Soon after they start working together, more murders are committed, and the pair begin to discover just what dark secrets are behind the killings.
This is the story of two cops who begin separate investigations 300 km apart - Pierre Niemans - Jean Reno - is a man of impeccable experience who is searching for the answer to the death of man halfway up a mountain in the university town of Guernon. Max Kerkerian - Vincent Cassel - is facing the inexplicable vandalising of the tomb of a 10 year-old girl. It is actually some time before their separate investigations converge in the hunt for a serial killer.
The mood is sombre, the tension heightened by unknown fears. This movie has been compared to Seven, to me inappropriately. Based on the novel by Jean-Christophe Grange, Kassovitz imbues the film with his own visual panache and a tremendously effective soundtrack. The locations are key to the film's sense of menace. Jean Reno is always a pleasure to see centre screen and Vincent Cassel is an effective foil. The denouement is, I admit, a letdown, verging on the ludicrous, but the achievements of the first two thirds of The Crimson Rivers far outweighs its problems with resolution. This is a heartpounding thriller.
Comments from David Stratton: It's a bit disappointing to see the director of the uniquely powerful La Haine making this very Hollywood-style thriller. For a while, it's an intriguing film, as two cops investigating different cases follow clues that lead to the same destination. And, for a while, there's some interest in the outcome of the Seven, like serial killer's activities. But the resolution is utterly daft, and so despite good performances and excellent location photography, you come out of the film feeling cheated.