I’ve developed an admiration for French filmmaking. I have to say when it comes to horror, they tend to push the envelope way past the trappings of Hollywood horror and they match Japanese cinema’s expression of raw existential themes when it comes to thrillers. Well, “The Nest” (Nid de Gruepes) is a 2002 French film directed by Florent Emilio Siri and is a film that relies on a simple plot but delivers suspense in a way it unfolds the sequences. The French title of the film translates into “Wasp’s Nest”.
July 14th is seen as a National Holiday. A band of common outlaws led by Nasser (Samy Naceri) and Santi (Benoit Magimel) are planning a warehouse robbery. Meanwhile, a special police transport team led by Laborie (Nadia Fares) is preparing to move an Albanian prisoner to face his charges in court. This prisoner called Abedin Nexhepi (Angelo Infanti) is the head of a prostitution network and is charged with many crimes including torture and rape. Ambushed by Nexhepi‘s private army, the transport team is forced to retreat to the very warehouse being robbed by Nasser’s team. Now to survive, the cops and the robbers must band together long enough for help to arrive; but can they co-exist in an enclosed space where panic and fear may reign supreme?
“The Nest” is a film with a simple premise. Cops and Robbers banding together against a common enemy has been done many times before. John Carpenter’s cult classic “Assault on Precinct 13” was a gritty epic that engage its viewer with suspense and attitude. This French film is no different. It relies on the drama of different personalities in an enclosed space (this time a warehouse) to provide thrills and excitement. The direction was clever enough to be successful, despite the fact that the film’s set up was rather routine.
I guess what made the film succeed is that the characters felt real human. They were people with lives outside of being a robber or a cop. They have family and they are family; they all just go about their business to do their job. They were all brought together by fate to face this assault. Fear, panic and lapse in judgment play an important part in its generation of suspense and our characters are faced with these emotions. What I also liked about the film is that it develops its characters through interaction and dialogue, you get to know them while they react. Laborie is a strong woman and she is determined to lead her team through the night. Nasser and Santi are common goons who are quite close--like brothers. A watchman (played by Pascal Gregory) is a man who has a shady background as he was a fireman before he became a rent-a-cop. The characters are interesting and the script maintains its mystery, these are men who doesn’t know each other but fate chose to cram them into this situation.
There is a lot of action to be had with “The Nest”. The film occurs during nighttime so the shots are kept simple and gritty. There is a good show of blood and violence, as the small army assaults the warehouse; the action is kept realistic and straight-forward. The film was successful in generating suspense, as we get to wonder if our protagonist will get to survive the night. The small army remains a mystery as they are kept to the shadows; it was a wise move to have the film seen through the eyes of the cops and the robbers, this quality was vital in keeping the viewer guessing as to what would come next. This is a film that intends to trap its viewer along with its protagonist to generate a helpless, claustrophobic feel. Quite a great approach that relies on simplicity.
“The Nest” is a focused no-nonsense motion picture. It is a film that allows its characters and action scenes to take hold of the viewer. It may not have major intricacies to its plot, and this is actually its main strength. The film also boasts of excellent performances and the atmosphere is just right for this type of film. It is a film about one night, two groups of people and two watchmen who are forced to co-exist to survive…through the use of gunplay. I guess survival is indeed man’s best instincts.
Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]
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It's July 14th, and people are enjoying the national holiday. A group prepare what is later shown to be a warehouse robbery. Meanwhile, Laborie, a special agent in the French special forces, and an international team are escorting the leader of the Albanianmafia, Abedin Nexhepi. He is due to appear in a European court, charged with running an extensive prostitution network. Despite a considerable security presence, Nexhep's henchmen still try to intercept the armed escort. They set up an ambush, but the escort manages to escape. After a chase, the armed escort take refuge in a warehouse inside a massive industrial park. Upon arriving, they discover that the building is in the process of being robbed, by a group of people after some computer equipment. While facing off against the would-be thieves, Nexhep's men surround the warehouse. The three groups are then involved in a long firefight, and everyone involved struggles to survive. Who exactly lives or dies is unclear right until the very end of the film.