HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
Us
mid90s
Holiday
Lovin' Molly
   
 
Newest Articles
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
   
 
  120 BPM (Beats Per Minute) Positive ActionBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Robin Campillo
Stars: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois, Adèle Haenel, Antoine Reinartz, Félix Maritaud, Ariel Borenstein, Aloïse Sauvage, Simon Bourgade, Médhi Touré, Simon Guélat, Coralie Russier, Catherine Vinatier, Théophile Ray, Saadia Bentaïeb, Jean-François Auguste
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The place is Paris, the time is the early nineteen-nineties, and among the gay community and beyond the AIDS crisis is deeply felt, but those who are suffering the most do not believe they are being taken seriously by the authorities, be that the politicians or the pharmaceutical companies who claim to be conducting research into a cure. In the United States, the ACT UP protest group has made great inroads in making this a national talking point even if they are fighting ignorance, but in France the picture is far less rosy, as many more are dying there from the disease than there are in the United Kingdom or Germany. Thus, the French ACT UP group has work to do...

At the stage director Robin Campillo's 120 BPM (or 120 battements par minute as it was known originally) was released, AIDS was no longer a death sentence for those infected thanks to huge progress carried out by the chemists who developed medication to combat it. Which had some wondering why a film like this existed, when the problem, as far as they could see, was solved, though that displayed the same ignorance the pressure group depicted here was up against, for there was nothing wrong in visiting history and learning how we got here from there. It was true Campillo made a meal of his tale, clocking in at almost two-and-a-half hours, however.

Then again, he had a lot to say, and was working from a position of his own personal experience, as he had been an activist back in those dark days for the homosexual community thus we were getting as close to the truth as a fictionalisation could be. He had seen friends and lovers die when they were being told there was nothing that could be done, when he and his fellow activists were certain there was: for that motive the corporations in charge of researching any kind of cure are painted in a very unflattering light. You may not agree with the group's actions of throwing fake blood around their offices, but it certainly got them noticed, even if they were pissing off those who could help.

But this was not some polemic far after the fact, as Campillo did exhibit some wisdom as to what he had learned about the times that shaped him as a young man. We were offered a selection of scenes where the group would discuss the issues and their courses of action, and not always reach a consensus either; if anyone wanted to adapt this film for the stage, concentrating on these sequences would be a good start. There was a lot theatrical about much of how 120 BPM played out, novelistic even, but then to render it more cinematic an interlude would pass by showing the characters strutting their funky stuff on the dancefloor, possibly to music that went 120 beats per minute (a remix of Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy was heard late on, which was a massive cliché, but also an important record, so you had to allow it).

In amongst all these politics and social issues the director wanted us to remember something else as well: that love was at the heart of these concerns. Therefore we followed the doomed romance of Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), one of the rabble rousers in the gay community of Paris, and Nathan (Arnaud Valois), the less strident member of the group who is tending towards looking for a boyfriend more than he is being a vital part of activism, though that is important to him as well, and we discover why when Valois delivered a compelling monologue on Nathan's previous relationship. The trouble is, while Nathan is "neg", Sean is "poz" and as the film wore on, he disintegrated before our very eyes, just as thousands of others did in real life, which as you can understand offers no comfort in numbers. Here we can see that while love was a guiding force, fear was a defining one, the fear of dying horribly thanks to a disease few were taking as seriously, as urgently, as they should have. If this had its strident stretches, it was a valuable reminder of an era that shaped the modern world. Music by Arnaud Rebotini.

[Curzon's Blu-ray has a featurette on the cheerleading sequence and a trailer as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 741 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: