Rebellion tells the story of GIGN Captain Philippe Legorjus (Mathieu Kassovitz), a hostage negotiator in a situation who discovered he couldn’t do his job one day, as everything went wrong, and he wants to find out why. We learn this right at the start, so it’s not a spoiler.
The situation is the real-life story of the Ouvéa cave hostage taking which began on April 23rd, 1988.
Legorjus is amongst a team going into New Caledonia (or, Tahiti, for the filming here) with 50 paras, since four policemen are dead and 30 have been kidnapped. By the time the army get there, the hostages have been split into two groups, one in the South of the island, and one in with the Army’s Colonel Benson who knows the tribes, and one in the North, with the Gossanah tribe.
He has 10 days to reach and negotiate with the terrorists, led by Alphonse Dianou, who led the occupation in the South, recreated with an intriguing one-take scene which shows Legorjus and resident Samy ‘amongst’ the action as it happens. Dianou’s argument is that their tribe, the Kanaks, simply want their independence.
Philippe can see things from both sides, but faces barriers from his government who want to launch an assault on the Kanaks, while he just wants to negotiate a peaceful conclusion. Nothing goes to plan and he is captured along with his men, but just he is allowed to go free only to negotiate with the government and return. Since that the assault is a given, you sense the fear and hopelessness when it begins. However, while I can understand the intention of Kassovitz to tell as full a story as possible over the ten days, it didn’t need to be told in full and, at 135 minutes, it does rather drag in the middle. A good 25-30 minutes could’ve been tightened up with no loss of impact.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and looks superb, revelling in the lush tropical landscapes. Kassovitz makes up for any script issues while at least giving you a visual treat. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV with a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
The sound comes in DTS HD 5.1 option and there’s occasional action in it with gunfire etc. (I won’t spoil it by saying when and where), but the rest of mostly dialogue. It’s not as if there’s any problems with it, but it does it’s job perfectly well.
The menu features clips from the film against a short piece of the music. Subtitles come in English and the chapters are the usually lame 12 across the 120 minutes.
As for the extras? Well, Lionsgate, that’s a question I’d like to ask you. Rebellion has none. Not even a trailer
Running time: 135 minutes
Released: August 26th 2013
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (HDCAM SR)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Producer: Mathieu Kassovitz and Christophe Rossignon
Screenplay: Pierre Geller (from a script by Mathieu Kassovitz and Benoît Jaubert)
Music: Klaus Badelt
Capitaine du GIGN Philippe Legorjus: Mathieu Kassovitz
Alphonse Dianou: Iabe Lapacas
JP Perrot: Malik Zidi
Jean Bianconi: Alexandre Steiger
Bernard Pons: Daniel Martin
Christian Prouteau: Philippe Torreton
Chantal Legorjus: Sylvie Testud
Samy: Steeve Une
Général de brigade Vidal: Philippe de Jacquelin Dulphé
Colonel de l’armée Dubut: Patrick Fierry
Général de Gendarmerie Jérôme: Jean-Philippe Puymartin
Lieutenant Colonel de Gendarmerie Benson: Stéfan Godin
Nine Wea: François ‘Kötrepi’ Neudjen
Djubelly Wea: Macki Wea
Hilaire Dianou: Alphonse Djoupa
Franck Wahuzue: Pierre Gope
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.