By Hemanth Kissoon
“Trust landed me here. I don’t do trust,” Franck.
As the end credits rolled, a name was slowly revealed as co-writer and producer, Luc… Bossi. I thought this Gallic thriller might have been from the stable of mogul schlock-meister, Luc Besson. Recent offerings include: LOCKOUT, COLMBIANA and 22 BULLETS. THE PREY sits comfortably in his comic-book-violent, amoral, absurd, and nutty world. Actually, this goes beyond Besson’s casual hijinks towards a nastier tone. Maybe the filmmakers thought that would add an extra level of tension? The collateral damage has something of OLDBOY and I SAW THE DEVIL, but with none of their intelligence, panache and brio. Instead it’s exploitation territory.
Opening with a sex scene, clumsily edited, creating neither frisson nor intrigue. Franck Adrien (Albert Dupontel) is getting a conjugal visit from his stunning wife (Caterina Murino – Solange in CASINO ROYALE). Over the course of the set-up, we quickly get the lay of the land:
- Franck is in jail for bank robbery,
- He is due to be released soon,
- The loot is hidden from everyone, including his wife and crime partner,
- Franck’s wife and mute young daughter could do with the money,
- His cellmate is a sex offender, and
- One guard is particularly not a fan of the lead.
Franck’s relatively neat world turns upside down. Rather than counting down the days to parole, he is forced to escape to protect his family. There are solid action set-pieces throughout. If anyone of you have seen CHRYSALIS, you’ll know Dupontel can handle himself. Here, he certainly gets battered about, and dishes it too. Franck is being tracked while also hunting, hence the literate title. Director Eric Valette keeps the pace breakneck, but fumbles the ending – for all the brutal bluster, the anti-climactic crescendo is a bit of a whimper. A pity, as B-movie potboilers go, THE PREY has its total lack of heart in the right place.