May 13, 2015

24 Days (2014)

24 Days (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Alexandre Arcady
Country: France

Movie Review: Algerian-born French director, producer and co-writer, Alexandre Arcady, probes the real incidents that devastated a Parisian Jewish family in 2006. The case was known as ‘The Affair of the Gang of Barbarians’, where 27 people were tried for kidnapping, torture, and consequent death of a modest cell phone salesman, Ilan Halimi, who died 24 days after his capture by a ruthless gang that operated both in France and Ivory Coast. At the time, the case shocked France since anti-Semitism and financial reasons were proved to be on the basis of the crime. Zabou Breitman impersonates Ruth Halimi, the disconsolate mother, who after introducing herself, starts narrating how her beloved son suddenly fell in the hands of a gang whose leader, Youssouf Fofana aka Django, became the negotiator of the ransom. Ilan was conducted to his aggressive captors by a mysterious beautiful woman who met him at his store. The family decides to follow the police advice: not to pay the ransom and negotiate with the unscrupulous leader of the gang, who becomes more and more impatient, as well as discredited in the eyes of his accomplices due to the impasse created. False suspects and clues, descriptions that don’t match at all, and a bunch of threatening phone calls, most of them to Ilan’s father, Didier (Pascal ElbĂ©), consume some time until taking us somewhere. The film is not devoid of tension, passing some of the anxiety to the viewer. It doesn’t reinvent the formula, but its narrative doesn’t compromise either, in spite of some repetitive basic procedures and circumstantial overdramatic scenes. Generally speaking, Mr. Arcady maintains the film controlled, and even if it’s not a great thriller, “24 Days” provides an acceptable fact-based reconstruction of a shameful operation.

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