April 1988, Ouvea island, New Caledonia. 30 policemen held hostage by a group of Kanak separatists. 300 soldiers sent from France to restore order. 2 men face to face: Philippe Legorjus, captain of the GIGN and Alphonse Dianou, head of the hostage takers. Through shared values, they will try to win the dialogue. But in the midst of a presidential election, when the stakes are political, order is not always dictated by morality.
User Reviews: I stumbled upon this one while browsing through Matthieu Kassovitz’s filmography only because i’ve been acquainted with his previous work. However, it seems that Hollywood remains merciless and after one not-bad movie like Gothika (2003) and one sub-par like Babylon A.D. (2008) Mathieu had to turn back to France for funding.
Rebellion (L’ordre et la morale) is as dramatic but not as much action driven as, for example, Black Hawk Down (2001) or Saving Private Ryan (2008), yet we know almost everything about the latter movies and virtually nothing about Rebellion. And at times it paints the big picture as monumental as Apocalypse Now (1979). So, i tried to understand why is this movie kept below radar level.
Probably the main reasons are that it’s in French and portraying events on an almost forgotten island in Pacific Ocean. But as the story develops we encounter all axioms of colonialism (ore deposit, indigenous people striving for independence, disinterested politicians, trigger-happy military) creating a powder keg bound to explode.
Trapped in the middle is a negotiator played by Mathieu Kassovitz himself. He is usually good at what he’s doing, but politicians would like to see a quick solution in the light of impending elections. Military is excited to see some action and there is little need for a negotiator that would like to resolve the deadlock by talking to the rebels.
This is enough to give you a flavor of what you see in Rebellion, but also leaves you with a question why we don’t know about it. Obviously, there are other things that make a movie popular apart from good script, captivating photography and exquisite performance by the actors. Yet i always feel bad when a stupefying blockbuster gets more media attention than a masterpiece like Rebellion.