Title: Army of Crime / L'armée du crime
Release date: 01/02/10
Runtime: 139 mins
Director: Robert Guediguian
Starring: Ariane Ascaride, Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet, Jean-Pierre Darroussin.
Army of Crime (L'armée du crime) is a film about life under German occupation. It’s 1944. A convoy of buses drives along the streets of Paris. The passengers are on their way to be executed. The narration then takes us back to 1941 when Germany is invading the Soviet Union.
Missak Manouchian (Simon Abkarian) is an Armenian factory worker and poet, married to a Frenchwoman (Virginie Ledoyen). Arrested as a communist he is later released after denying his political affiliations.
Missak had lost his family in the Turkish massacres in Armenia years ago and lives a life of peace, hating violence, but he understands that the Nazis must be stopped. He forms a group of teenagers and young men to become an organised force against the Nazis.
The movie is exciting but also captivating on a moral level as well offering viewers the chance to make their own minds up as to whether violence is justifiable under extreme circumstances.
There are some very intense scenes of torture and I’d advise you to be careful before watching the film as these scenes are not for the faint-hearted. They are no doubt realistic but they are also horrible.
The film is well directed and carefully shot and in most cases impeccably acted. It’s not going to be the sort of film that everyone wants to watch but it is no doubt a realistic war film.