(aka "I Want To Be A
Films). 2008. Comedy-Thriller. 82 Minutes.
French. Not Rated. Jack really wants to be a gangster. The
small-time con artist looks to score big with any of the well established
organizations of the criminal underground and will do almost anything to
be recruited. After mistakenly conning a syndicate's drug mule,
Jack's friend ends up dead and he's unwillingly forced into a hit contract
against the organization's opposition. When a chain of misfortunate
events lead him into deeper trouble, Jack finds himself in his own chain,
bound to a tree, in the middle of nowhere, and without food and water.
Jack has to utilize his small-time crook survival skills in the long and
lonely weeks to come and as he fights for life, uninvited guests look in
on his torturous progress. Does wanting to be a big time gangster
worth the life troubles?
Olivier Chateau's first feature film is a mixture of crime
thriller and subdued comical elements. "Asylum" (aka
"I Want To Be A Gangster") independently creates an impact on
foreign low-budget cinema entertainment. Chateau's and
cinematographer Christophe Larue's envisioning consists of a slight sepia
and standard definition appearance to accompany the storyline's mise en
scene of a 1980's to early 1990's setting. The French film does more
than just tell the unfortunate events of Jack and his rise and downfall of
being a hoodlum; it perversely exploits the consistent failures of the
bigger organizations while the small fry revels in street smarts and good
fortune. And "Asylum" is a good metaphor to shop small
business because you know you're getting the attention and detail from
Jack. Our protagonist is played superbly by the veteran actor Julien
Courbey and with Courbey's wiry frame, he seems like the unlikely hero.
Courbey boldly tackles the role with invigorating energy, while delivering
the comedy needed to not make the 2008 film just a run-of-the-mill
gangster movie. Synapse Films made a honorable decision picking up
the North American DVD distribution rights and is a fantastic edition for
any genre collector or layman viewer. The DVD is presented in an
anamorphic widescreen, with a French 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound with
English subtitles, and bonus features include a 'making of' featurette, an
Olivier Chateau short film, and the original promotional trailer.
Forget the big time and think small when considering you're next viewing
of a gangster film. Remember the old proverb, less is more. -Steven