Film Review: Rebellion


Director and co-writer Mathieu Kassovitz’s Rebellion is powerful and compelling viewing.

In April 1988 on an island in the French colony of New Caledonia, a group of policemen are taken hostage by separatists. Philippe Legorjus, Captain of the GIGN (National Gendarmerie Intervention Group) is tasked with diffusing the situation and freeing the hostages…

Rebellion focuses on real-life events that will be little known, particularly to international viewers. Kassovitz has a particular story to tell. Legorjus works as an astute protagonist. Given his communications with different factions, Legorjus is best placed to tell the story from a somewhat objective viewpoint.

There are a number of interests at play in the narrative. Rebellion ensures that the varying views are understandable. Nonetheless, it is clear the opinion which Kassovitz wishes the audience to take. Rebellion is unapologetic in how it paints the various factions.

The film is suitably paced, with decent tension building particularly in the second half. Part of the reason why Rebellion is so compelling is that it is unclear how the hostage situation will pan out. Unlike films based on more well-known historical incidents, there is an element of mystery to the film.

The combat scenes in Rebellion are finely executed. There is a great use of close-up shots and varying camera angles. Coupled with disorientating movement and sound, these really pull viewers into the action. The use of sound is effective throughout the film.

Mathieu Kassovitz offers a strong central performance as Philippe Legorjus. It is the intensity of this character that really helps to carry the film.

Rebellion sheds light on a little-known event that audiences should know about. It does so in an engaging and effective manner.