Braquo Season 1, aka ‘Heist’, begins with Farid Benaissa (Adrien Saint-Joré), a prisoner denying that he and his friend raped a pregnant woman. He also refuses to give up his friend’s name, so cop Max Rossi (Olivier Rabourdin) takes it out on him by stabbing him in the eye with a pen… and that was just the start.
Meanwhile, armed gunmen want a high-up civil servant to find out and tell them when and where a mutual friend will be when he arrives in Paris, otherwise they’ll just release the very compromising photos they’ve taken of him in a set-up.
The powers that be want to make an example of Max because the bosses have been after him for ages. In fact, they’re pretty much all dirty, corrupt cops who’ll bend the rules to get the job done, such as keeping some of the money they find on Serge Lemoine (Alain Figlarz) when they arrest him.
Max is now disgraced, his widow will not get any of his pension and Benaissa is unlikely to change his story, so how do Eddy Caplan (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and his team turn things around?
How far will they cross the line to solve cases in their own, maverick way? And how will those at the top, who sniff that they’re not exactly on the level, try to take them down? That probably sounds like two completely clichéd sentences, but it’s a simple way of defining the boundaries between the cops who really should be all on the same side, and it’s a wholly priceless piece of entertainment.
In addition, the cops have complex private lives which spill over into the job and all the characters are nicely fleshed out, the more you get into it. Other gripping storylines include trying to pay off a couple of gangsters known as The Hoffman Brothers with money and a portion of cocaine which originally came from another bust, and a gang who are going round stealing cashpoint machines.
Braquo features sharp writing which makes you even care about characters you’ve only just ‘met’ and who have an engaging tale to tell even if they only have a short time onscreen. There’s fantastic acting from the entire cast who manage to combine looking tired, fed up, bored & simply cool-as-fuck, all in one moment. Finally, credit goes to the expert direction which just oozes atmosphere.
Presented in the original 16:9 ratio, the picture perfectly captures the filthy-looking police station and the grim local streets of Paris, with the latter also being made to look stylish at times, given the direction.
The sound is in Dolby ProLogic and is fine for what it does, getting across the dialogue (even though I need the subtitles to understand it), assorted gunfire and plenty of atmosphere.
Sadly, there are no extras on this release, so technically the overall score loses points for that, but realistically, click on the packshot and you’ll see you are getting eight episodes of quality entertainment for around £15 on Blu-ray, so there’s no argument. Just buy it today!
The menu features static links to the four episodes on each of two discs, with the theme playing in the background, oddly with a slightly higher pitch.
Naturally, there are subtitles in English, which are burnt into the print, so if you are French and have bought this, you’ll find you can’t switch them off. Chapters are thin on the ground with just 6 per 52-minute episode.
Running time: 8 * 52 minutes
Released: April 30th 2012
Cat no: FCD625
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Pro Logic
Disc Format: 2*BD50
Directors: Olivier Marchal and Frédéric Schoendoerffer
Producers: Hervé Chabalier, Claude Chelli and Christophe Louis
Series writing credits: Olivier Marchal, Frank Henry and Yann Le Nivet
Music: Erwann Kermorvant
Eddy Caplan: Jean-Hugues Anglade
Théo Vachewski: Nicolas Duvauchelle
Walter Morlighem: Joseph Malerba
Roxane Delgado: Karole Rocher
Roland Vogel: Geoffroy Thiebaut
Serge Lemoine: Alain Figlarz
Gabriel Marceau: Samuel Le Bihan
Procureur Vanderbeke: Pascal Elso
Fargette: Joël Lefrançois
Max Rossi: Olivier Rabourdin
Hélène Rossi: Valérie Sibilia
Louis Bordier: Denis Sylvain
Jean-Baptiste Lornach: Philippe Hérisson
Faris Benaissa: Adrien Saint-Joré
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.