Diamond 13 -- Film Review

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TAORMINA, Italy -- Gerard Depardieu plays Mat, an embittered police officer fighting crooked politicians and cops to clear his friend and former partner's name in Gilles Beat's "Diamond 13." The former partner, Franck, is played by actor-writer-director Olivier Marchal ("Department 36"), who also co-wrote this screenplay.

"Department 36," in fact, is being remade in America as "36," by director Martin Campbell, and "Diamond" could easily get the same treatment. However, its convoluted plot could use some tweaking to jack up the tension.

Certainly the premise is standard. Franck is a narcotics officer dying of cancer. Disgusted by the corruption around him he asks Mat to help him steal a shipment of cocaine and one million euros from a drug lord (Aurelein Recoing). Mat refuses but gets caught up in the case anyway when Franck is mysteriously killed and accused of having been trafficking for years.

Forced to give up his gun and badge after shooting a hostage-taker in an unorthodox manner, Mat is also being hounded by his ex (Asia Argento), an ambitious Internal Affairs agent who has slept her way to the top. She wants Mat to say that Franck had been a bad cop for years. Unfortunately, Argento inspires little fear or power and the two make an unlikely couple.

Along the way, Mat befriends a suicidal young woman (Aissa Maiga), whom he releases without charging and beds. He also comes up against various politicians, including a senator, all of whom have something to hide.

The film is based on a book by a former police officer but there are too many elements and characters in this slick film that are never fully developed. The story is ultimately predictable and offers few thrills other than some gratuitous violence now and then.

Venue: Taormina Film Festival
Production companies: MK2 Productions, Artemis, Samsa Film
Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Asia Argento, Olivier Marchal, Anne Coesens, Aissa Maiga, Catherine Marchal, Erick Deshors, Aurelein Recoing
Director: Gilles Beat
Screenwriters: Beat, Oliver Marchal, Hughes Pagan
Producers: Patrick Quinet, Claude Waringo, Charles Gillibert, Marin Karmitz, Nathanael Karmitz, Jani Thiltges
Director of photography: Bernard Malaisy
Production designer: Frederic Astich-Barre
Music: Frederic Vercheval
Costume designers: Dominique Combelles, Nathalie Leborgne
Editor: Thierry Faber
Sales company: MK2 Diffusion
No rating, 98 minutes
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