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THE EMPIRE OF WOLVES (L’Empire des loups) by Chris Nahon


****** SPOILER WARNING! ********
Inspector Paul Nerteaux (Jocelyn Quivrin) is investigating a series of brutal murders in the turkish district of Paris. All victims were brutally tortured and disfigured, and with the help of discarded inspector Schiffer (Jean Reno) who is familiar with the turkish crime scene in France he finds out they were all illegal immigrants, women between 20 and 30 – and they all looked very similar.
Anna Heymes (Arly Jover) suffers from partial amnesia – she cannot remember the face of her husband or any details of her marriage, and she experiences ghastly hallucinations where people suddenly appear to be zombie-like creatures. The medical examinations in a governmental high-tech lab seem not to help, and she seeks the help of psychiatrist Mathilde Wilcrau (Laura Morante) without telling her policeman husband. Is Anna going crazy? Or did her husband undergo plastic surgery while she was suffering from a shock? Or is Anna not really who she thinks she is?
Supported by Schiffer and his ultra-violent investigation methods, Nerteaux finds out there seems to be a connection between the murders and the ‘Grey Wolves’, a turkish nationalist organization. When the murders are not the work of a lunatic serial killer but a nationalist and terrorist organization, are the Wolves looking for one woman, and the killing of the others was just a mistake? And is Nerteaux up to this case, or should he rather give it up, as Schiffer suggests?

Based on the novel by Jean-Christophe Grangé (who also wrote the novels on which the CRIMSON RIVER-films are based on) you expect conspiracies, bones and gore, and you get it. You also expect a somewhat complicated story, and you get that, too – in overdose. While it’s nice to have something to think about when watching a movie, don’t worry when you don’t fully get this one at first viewing – you are not the only one for sure!
A huge part of the plot (the secret military mind control-project) which would have been enough for an own movie is in there simply by chance (because they grabbed just this special woman out of all the illegal immigrants) and has basically nothing to do with what’s going on. And you never really know what’s up with Schiffer – is he retired, or is he a corrupt cop, or has he been working undercover for the narcotics (or maybe the anti terror-unit) all along? And if he did and all this was set up to get the leader of the Grey Wolves, was ‘Anna’ into it or not? You just can’t tell.
Maybe it’s so hard to make sense of everything in this movie because there isn’t much sense in most parts of it!
If you like it moody (it’s night and rainy most of the time), tough and gory with some conspiracy thrown into it and all of that well shaken – and stirred – and can live with the fact that you won’t understand half of what’s going on, and you liked the CRIMSON RIVER and love Jean Reno, then go for this film.

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