First time director Edgar Marie, known for his scripting on the TV series Braquo, makes a confident debut with the sleek and stylish Paris Countdown. It’s the story of two middle-aged club owners, Milan and Viktor, who are forced to rat on a French crime lord, Serki, sending him to prison for eight years when a drug deal in Mexico goes awry. When Serki’s released from prison, however, having pulled strings with the Cartel, he embarks on a quest to take revenge on those who put him away.
What results is a simple yet effective cat-and-mouse chase through the club land of Paris, slowly revving up the tension between our two heroes throughout as they attempt to find an escape from their psychotic predator. Excellently performed by French stars Olivier Marchal and James Gamblin, the dynamic between them as their personalities clash in search for a solution is what provides much of the enjoyment in Paris Countdown.
Equally impressive is Marie’s polished direction that wears the influences of Michael Mann, John Woo and Nicolas Winding Refn proudly on its sleeve. Sure, it’s style over substance with the slow-motion shootouts, neon-lit photography and thumping club soundtrack all an attempt to disguise a narrative lacking in fresh, unique ideas, but when it’s executed with such aplomb it’s difficult not to sit back and enjoy the thrill ride that Paris Countdown delivers.
Paris Countdown shows at the Edinburgh Film Festival on June 20th and June 22nd