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  Nest, The Dodging Bullets
Year: 2002
Director: Florent Emilio Siri
Stars: Samy Naceri, Benoît Magimel, Nadia Farès, Pascal Greggory, Sami Bouajila, Anisia Uzeyman, Richard Sammel, Valerio Mastandrea, Martial Odone, Martin Amic, Alexandre Hamidi, Angelo Infanti, Grigori Manukov
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: An East European Mafia boss, Abedin Nexhep (Angelo Infanti) from Albania, is being escorted to Strasbourg after his arrest, but his underlings are not going to let him go without a fight. While Laborie (Nadia Farès) assembles her security team to take the prisoner to his cell, another group is being assembled, a team of thieves led by Nasser (Samy Naceri) looking to rob a local warehouse of its stash of computer equipment. Both think they have every angle accounted for, but they are about to meet up in the longest night of their lives...

There were a few comparisons made with The Nest, or Nid de Guêpes as it was known in French, and other American made action thrillers, the most obvious one being John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13. Here director and co-writer (with Jean-François Tarnowski) Florent Emilio Siri proved that for that 2000s remake of the Carpenter film, he would have been the ideal choice and might have made something worthwhile out of it. As it was, he made quite an impact with this tense set up, exhibiting the confidence to give his tale a slow and steady build up.

It's during that first half hour or so that we are offered snippets of information about the characters: nothing that will bog down the film with chatter, but stuff that tells us that, for example, Laborie is a single mother. Not much, but it's a reason for her protectiveness towards her team and eventually the misfits she meets at the warehouse. It also shows her to be a James Cameron style of action heroine which will see her gun-toting and resourceful in the face of danger, unlike, say, one of the security guards who reacts to the onslaught by hiding under the table.

It's the warehouse of computer equipment that they all end up hiding in, mixing the traditional heist movie with the siege suspenser, when Laborie's entourage, complete with armoured car to transport the villain, comes under attack and has to seek refuge in the very site of Nasser's robbery. It was all going so well, too. It soon becomes clear that there is a multitude of masked, armed killers outside blessed with night vision goggles and tear gas grenades and not only are they not going to leave without their man, they're going to make sure that nobody but him gets out of the warehouse alive.

There's a scene of nature footage a character is watching on television at the beginning with a wasp attacking a large spider and paralysing it with venom, then dragging it back to its nest to lay its eggs in it. It's not a smooth metaphor for the situation Laborie and Nasser find themselves in, but everywhere else Siri tackles his thrills with elegance and flair. The dialogue could have been better, and the lapses into English sound stilted, but it's the tense stand-offs you'll remember, and Laborie's fight is neatly representative of the revenge against Nexhep's abominable treatment of women which is the reason he's been caught in the first place. It's a simple story and any embellishments would be distractions, making The Nest one of the better - slicker - European action efforts. Music by Alexandre Desplat.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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