Black Flies by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, starring Sean Penn: Our review and trailer

Published by Manon de Sortiraparis · Published on March 27th, 2024 at 03:41 p.m.
Black Files by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire tells the story of two New York paramedics, played by Sean Penn and Tye Sheridan. In cinemas April 3, 2024.

Anyone who has ever been to New York is familiar with the city's incessant ambulance sirens, which break up the night with their shrill cry. Adapted from Shannon Burke's novel 911, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire 's Black Flies is speeding along, sirens blaring, in Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2023.

Behind the wheel, two paramedics, the taciturn Rutkovsky(Sean Penn), all cracks and fissures, toothpick stuck in his beak, and rookie Ollie Cross(Tye Sheridan, impeccable), for whom the stint with the paramedics is just a step towards medical school.

Partners in this furiousbuddy movie (one affected by the sight of a corpse, the other weary, even disgusted by his job), they crisscross Brooklyn at breakneck speed, an obvious Scorsese reference, in a trashy, stylized version, but never reaching the model.

First scene, outside at night, immediate impact. A raw, immersive dive into the guts of the city that never sleeps, with blood, sweat and tears, Chief. Tight framing, erratic editing and a camera that scurries behind paramedics, follows stretchers, dives as close as possible to bullet wounds; and even some real flashes, in the Safdie brothers' way of taking the pulse of New York in the midst of a tachycardia attack.

With violence and insecurity once again plaguing the Big Apple since City Hall abandoned its zero-tolerance policy, the film highlights the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, between those who benefit from the metropolis and those who suffer. But the French director, himself uprooted in New York for years, holds up a slightly distorting, miserabilistic mirror, stumbling over clichés as his interventions become repetitive over time.

Hostile Mexican gangs or ritualistic Muslims, senile old men or religious Indians, drug addicts or alcoholics - tattoos as a sign of recognition; these are the people who must be atoned for by these saviors for their immorality, and extracted from the filth of violence-ridden neighborhoods.

It's a reality, of course, and one that allows for some striking and gripping scenes (the bathtub scene). But the only Caucasian to call for help, a Slav, threatens his wife in his native tongue, and the unsubtitled exchange again shows the distance between these two mutually subjugated worlds. A shapeless mass of minorities and disenfranchised people, portrayed as drugged-up, dirty and shouting; a social misery that becomes moral, and reaches Sean Penn, a god who decides, if not redeems, to the point of fault.

Trailer for"Black Flies":

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Invitations to be taken

L'organisateur offre 5x2 places pour découvrir le film Black Flies dans le cinéma de votre choix en France métropolitaine lors de sa sortie en salles.

Service closed, guests have been contacted. Thank you for your participation!
Practical Information: Start date: 27/03/2024 - End date: 03/04/2024
Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
Starts April 3rd, 2024

× Approximate opening times: to confirm opening times, please contact the establishment.
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