November – Five days after the Bataclan: a gritty spy thriller. The review

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Jean Dujardin is immersed in the whirlwind and dramatic days of winter 2015 in the film November – The five days after the Bataclan directed by Cédric Jimenez, in cinemas from April 20. This heart-pounding thriller reconstructs the events that followed the terrorist attacks in Paris that brutally and profoundly affected France. At the heart of the action anti-terrorist division of the French police who must act under unprecedented pressure, managing a manhunt to find those responsible for those violent actions that have caused so many innocent victims in a few hours. The country on high alert witnessed President Hollande declare war on Daesh, while the police were given carte blanche to bring those responsible to justice.

The Bataclan behind the scenes

In 2022 the movie One Year, One Night he makes the viewer experience the terrorist attack at the Bataclan in the first person by following a young engaged couple who are there that evening and then in the following days he has to try to metabolize what happened and move on. In November instead Jimenez focuses on investigative and institutional work of law enforcement involved who carried out interrogations, undercover investigations and searches across Europe solving the case in less than a week. The structure and soul of November are those of the traditional spy thriller, but being connected to a fact that actually happened in recent times it allows the viewer to feel more involved emotionally and experience the characters in a more intense and immediate way.

Jean Dujardin at the forefront

Alongside Jean Dujardin stand out Anaïs Demoustier, Sandrine Kiberlain and Jérémie Renier in the role of the various agents of the anti-terrorist team who operated in those five days in which the jihadists struck various targets in the French capital. Director does not delay to show the attack which is only perceived by the numerous telephones that ring at the beginning of the film broadcasting a state of emergency. The focus is rather on intervention and rescue, on the formulation of theories to stop the culprits and not allow them to attempt the macabre enterprise again.

A gripping thriller

The film is authentic in the locations and settings in the footsteps of a docu-drama, on the model of films such as Hitman or Zero Dark Thirty. The pace is always high and engaging action, both in the dialogues and comparisons between the protagonists, and in the various moments of the manhunt. According to reports at the time, nearly 5,000 shells were fired during the night raid by French authorities, and you can be sure Jimenez includes them all in his film. There is no space for the bourgeois aspect of the agents that the viewer only ever knows on duty, a voluntary and conscious choice of the director who does not want distractions. Red herrings, dead ends, not everything went smoothly in those five days, but Jimenez celebrates the stubbornness and dedication of the agents who worked day and night to achieve their goal. November it is a gritty film that is certainly largely fictional and not entirely realistic due to the needs of the scene. However as a spy thriller it does its duty and entertains with maturity and consistency.