Directed by Jacques Audiard
From 15th April 2016
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
I found this story of a group of three people fleeing a war-torn Sri Lanka to end up in Paris simplistic and at times banal.
Comments from critics have been made that the film shows them moving from one war zone to another but this is not valid. Up to 100,000 people were killed during the 26-year long civil war in Sri Lanka, with the country’s military defeating the Tamil Tigers to bring the bloodshed to an end in 2009.
The ‘family’, Dheepan (Antonythasan Jesuthasan), with his supposed wife Yalini (Kalieaswari) and daughter (Claudine Vinasithamby) – posing as a family was the only way they were able to leave their native country – ended up in one of the concrete ghettos in Paris, but to describe where they were now living as comparable with what they left behind is ludicrous on the part of directer Jacques Audiard.
Another departure from reality is how quickly they are assimilated in France. Within a mater of days of arriving in Paris Dheepan is employed as a caretaker of a rundown housing banlieue and Yalini finds a paid job, caring for an elderly man with mental problems.
And to add to the cringeworthy nature of the film as a whole, she is able to converse in French within days, not having been able to speak a word of the language before departing Sri Lanka.
The hoodies and gangsters they daily encounter at the banlieue are not realistically depicted by Audiard. They are up to no good but you encounter this sort of behaviour in major cities everywhere. Perhaps he should have viewed the accomplished police drama series Spiral to see an accurate portrayal of Parisian low life.
In the closing stages Dheepan adopts a Rambo/Charles Bronson Deathwish style reaction to his harassment from the youngsters, with guns ablazing and wielding machetes, which further diminished the credibility of the movie.
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