VOD Releases: Fast Convoy AKA Le Convoi (2017) - Reviewed

For modern audiences, nothing says ‘action’ better than a car chase. This has actually been true for the past three decades, with classics such as Mad Max, Duel, Bullitt, The Driver, Ronin, The Fast and the Furious driving audiences to the cinema to see amazing chases, solid thrillers and their favorite star’s drive supped up cars in the most difficult of circumstances. Each of these stories puts us firmly in the driver’s seat for two hours, whipping us around corners at 80 miles an hour, something we couldn’t ever hope to do in our real lives. 

Frederic Schoendoerffer’s adrenaline-charged Le Convoi (Fast Convoy) is the latest film with this same type of story. Based on the script by Schoendoerffer and Yann Brion, Le Convoi starts with the last car in the convoy picking up their load in Malaga. Vincent Gallot’s cinematography is in a warm yellow, to suggest that everything is normal in the sunny seaside resort. The car, a well-to-do Chrysler 300 is driven by young Elyes (Mahdi Belemlih). In the co-pilot’s seat is Majid (Foed Amara). 

The dialogue in each of the cars gives us background on these characters, their personal lives without detracting from the overall pacing of the film. When the Majid discovers something amiss, he asserts himself, reminding us of whose actually in charge in the car. Once their verbal altercation simmers down, they return to talking about life. It’s these little details that ease us in to the tension that unfolds. 

Following them is our lead, Alex played by Benoit Magimel. He is responsible for the convoy and plays security and has a Porsche Cayenne Turbo to prove it. There are two other cars, an Audi S8, carrying Reda (Sofian Khammes) and Imad (Tewfik Jallab) and a Volkswagen Phaelon (the North American equivalent would be a Passat) carrying Remi (Leon Garel) and Yacine (Amir El Kacem). 

At the French border, Elyes gets scared and turns around to avoid a checkpoint. In the ensuing chase, Elyes rams his car into another, carrying Nadia (Reem Kherici), who Elyes takes hostage. Alex catches up with them, taking over as the tail vehicle, carrying their load. 

The mood of the film changes after the first accident, when it finally hits home that what they’re doing for money is far more dangerous than they realize. But it also brings out the truth in why they were chosen to carry this load. 

Schoendoerffer’s direction is tight, especially for the fast-nature of the film, giving us an opportunity to know these people amidst the action. The use of color as I mentioned earlier, conveys other emotions beyond fear and anger. Magimel, who reminded me of Denis Leary, is quite magnetic and I am encouraged to check out more of his work. The remainder of the cast are interesting to watch. Ms. Kherici is quite believable as someone who has been abducted and then suffers through Stockholm Syndrome. Mr. Belemlih carries the role of Elyes effectively, especially his naiveté, and when he and Mr. Amara go at each other, the tension between them is palpable. 

The film is in French with English subtitles, and I never felt lost in terms of the narrative. Given the amount of time depicted in the film, it seems improbable that Nadia would have succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome so quickly. Yet, events allow these minor quibbles to remain unquestioned. Mr. Schoendoerffer delivers on the goods, and Le Convoi is a worthy addition to modern chase tales. 

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-Ben Cahlamer