Before going to the preview screening of Bastille Day, directed by James Watkins, I will admit I was concerned that an action film featuring a terrorist plot might be too soon and in poor taste after the attack on Paris in 2015.
However, the film, starring Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) and Idris Elba (Luther, Prometheus) makes quite an interesting and worthwhile statement about media hype and corruption, which makes for a surprising twist and a thoroughly enjoyable film.
The plot revolves around Michael Mason (Madden) who is an American pickpocket living in Paris, who finds himself hunted by the CIA when he steals a bag from Zoe Naville (Charlotte Le Bon) that contains more than he bargained for.
Sean Briar (Elba) is the field agent on the case and, in the spirit of a good action film, is rogue and a rule breaker; he soon realises Michael is a pawn in a much bigger game and there are twists, turns, gunfire, explosions and car chases on the way to uncovering a large-scale conspiracy.
Bastille Day has all the elements of a great action film and follows the Die Hard formula. While it’s not quite Die Hard, it reaches some pretty great heights and it consistently entertaining and exciting.
Set in Paris, the scenery is a mix of old and new, and the classic architecture juxtaposed against the corruption and violence is cleverly portrayed through some high level cinematography.
Richard Madden is excellent in his role as the caddish pickpocket touting the skills of a magician, while managing to be sexy, funny, and an total action hero.
Elba is tough, mysterious, sexy, funny and a badass as Briar, and the relationship between he and Mason builds gradually and believably as the unlikely duo take on the bad guy.
Le Bon is equally badass as Zoe, putting on a stellar performance as the woman duped by her lover into starting a war and the catalyst for the action in the film.
Bastille Day is a fun, action packed thriller with a solid plot, excellent performances, and some genuinely funny moments. It’s got great effects, and will keep you entertained from go to whoa.
Reviewed by Libby Parker