Tiger Brigades Jérôme Cornuau

Tiger Brigades Jérôme Cornuau
This French film is about an elite police team organised by Georges Clémenceau, who was known as "the Tiger.” Clémenceau was France’s prime minister twice, the second time around right at the tail end of the war. The film takes place in 1912, during the lull between his two terms, while he was staunchly fighting for greater preparedness in the event of a conflict as minister of the interior. As the film opens, gangsters, anarchists and other unsavoury types abound in pre-war France. In order to ensure safety on the city streets, mobile brigades of police with specially outfitted cars are deployed all over the country. These first motorised police street teams of Untouchables-esque squads become known as the "Tiger Brigades.” The film itself is based less on historical events and more on a successful ’70s French TV series about the squads. The quartet of crime fighters doesn’t have an awesome Capone-esque super-villain to fight, unless you count anarchist sympathiser Constance (Diane Kruger), who happens to be the sneaky wife of a self-interested Russian Prince (Alexandre Medvedev). At times, this film feels like a BBC miniseries, and it might have actually been better if it was one. The meticulous sets, period costumes and overly dense plots of political intrigue and betrayal might have benefited from having a bit more time to unfold. Still, it features lots of slick action, a few likable characters and plenty of pre-war/post-millennial tension to keep it going. There aren’t any special features, which is a shame, because it might have been interesting to hear a bit about the making of a historical recreation this elaborate, or to learn more about the context of the film, both in terms of the history of France and the history of French television. (Mongrel Media)