Not sure what is more scary – the Illuminati or a meddling mother. It is pretty close. A toss up. You might think that I have taken loss of my senses, but I think that if you had seen Greek born French director Romain Gavras’s (Our Day Will Come) second feature length film, The World is Yours, you would see how I could think of comparing the two.
Known mostly for his glossy perfume ads for Dior and music videos for the likes of Jay Z, Kanye West and M.I.A., Gavras seems like an odd choice to helm this action-comedy film. And yet, he is exactly the type who should be directing this film. To make it work you needed someone who is willing to go to any length to make sure it has the requisite energy and visual dynamism to pull off the big ask.
The film made its debut at the Director’s Fortnight at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes with its notoriously unpredictable audiences the reaction to the film was overwhelmingly positive. It is your stereotypical crowd pleaser. Has everyting in it that film goers have demonstrated themselves to love. One liners, action, violence of the cartoon variety, and a lack of subtlety.
Being a lower level drug dealer working for a North African crime syndicate means that Fares (Karim Leklou – A Prophet, Special Treatment) longs for more of the greater things in life. Or at least more money and a good woman to love. He dreams of opening his own ice cream export company in Paris. Fares wants to be a legit businessman. This life better suits him as he is more momma’s boy than he is drug dealer.
Having brought up his mother, Danny (Isabelle Adjani – Monsieur Ibrahim, Diabolique) is a big part of the reason why Fares has not been able to get ahead. She has a bit (and by bit, I mean big) of a penchant for high risk gambling and has thrown away all his savings.
Desperate to get his hands on his enough money to start up his ice cream business, Fares agrees to a job of elevated risk. The job is to pick up a shipment of drugs from a Scottish gangster named Bruce (Sam Spruell – Snow White and the Huntsman, Taken 3). The exchange will happen in the Spanish vacation town of Benidorm. Fares’ team will include the not so swift Henri (Vincent Cassel – Jason Bourne, A Dangerous Method) and the beautiful money centered Lamya (Oulaya Amamra – Mariam, Divines).
As you could have predicted, the job is botched and bunch of money goes missing. Fares will be held responsible and his life hangs in the balance. Desperate, he looks to his mother to save him and as such his efforts towards self preservation become more and more outrageous.
Gavras’s film and his directorial style owes credit to Brian De Palma, Guy Richie and even Quentin Tarantino. Whatever it does is big. No effort is made to disguise its intentions or make its attempts at humour more dignified than slapstick. It is chaotic in a managable way. Nothing happens as you would expect. Which is entirely predictable with a film of this sort.
The large cast should also be commended. They lend some sort of believability to it all. Allow us to laugh at the oftentimes ridiculous humour. Deliver with aplomb the mass of lines which reference pop culture. They all totally commit despite the inherent risks. Chemistry between the cast is sizzling.
What adds to the whole carnival like atmosphere constructed here is the soundtrack. The music is just as over the top as everything else. You get electronica from Jamie XX, 80s soft rock from Toto and amusing French songs. It all lends and even adds to the atmosphere created by the camerawork and hectic pace.