The Assault Movie 2012 Review
The Assault Moo-Vees Review :
In the Assault Movie 2012 exploiting film’s visceral, kinetic and pummeling power to the max, this fact-based thriller about the 1994 Algerian terrorist hijacking of a Paris-bound flight is an outstanding achievement in genre entertainment
Simon Moutairou, Julien Leclercq
Vincent Elbaz, Grégori Derangère and Mélanie Bernier
The Assault Movie 2012 is the true story of the 48-hour stand-off between the French government, working with France’s GIGN elite national police-force unit, and four Algerian terrorists who take over a large Paris-bound Air France jet packed mostly with French nationals. From the first chilling minutes when the hijackers board the plane in Algiers disguised as Air France workers to the final confrontation with the GIGN on the Marseilles tarmac, The Assault Movie 2012 commands attention.
As directed and recreated by Julien Leclercq Movie 20212, the incident that gripped France and the 20 million people who watched the hijacking play out on TV in real time over the 1994 Christmas holiday will resonate strongly with all those who followed this country’s 9/11 events. His decision to embrace a documentary style of rapid-fire, nervous, close-up shots—in black-and-white until some color bleeds through near the end—is savvy.
Like those filmmakers who so faithfully and effectively re-created the 9/11 tragedy, Leclercq hews closely to the facts. He had members of the GIGN on set every day and worked closely with a real hostage. The film’s dialogue comes from actual communication between the terrorists and the authorities recorded as the incident played out. Only one character, that of Carole (Mélanie Bernier), attached to the Foreign Ministry and one of those in charge of strategizing the rescue, is a composite, as she represents the several points of view of the various French ministries confronting the hijacking.
The Assault Movie 2012 is really an ensemble piece, but providing this thriller’s connective tissue is GIGN member Thierry (Vincent Elbaz), part of the team led by Denis Favier (Grégori Derangère) that is charged with storming the plane and rescuing the passengers. The deep concerns of Thierry’s attractive wife Claire (Marie Guillard), so fearful of his mission, also punctuate the story throughout and provide the few soft edges. Among the passengers most closely followed is the lovely Arab woman Leïla (Samira Lachhab), traveling back to Paris with her family.
In the Assault the terrorist villains include bullying hijacker Ali Touchent (Abdelhafid Metalsi) and Yahia (Aymen Saïdi). Ali executes several passengers as easily as the words “God is great” fall frequently from his lips.
From the claustrophobic tension inside the craft and the anxious maneuvering of the French authorities to the GIGN’s final, terrifying assault on the plane, the film won’t let go. What also sets The Assault apart is how attentive LeClercq is to details. The key actors couldn’t have been better, but even the plane’s besieged co-pilots (Jean-Philippe Puymartin and David Sevier), who uttered few words, are eloquent and convincing in their agony.