Intersections: Film Review

Intersections Film Still - H 2013

Intersections Film Still - H 2013

Besson broad-brush formula applied to Sahara action thriller lacks warmth or plausibility.

Roschdy Zem is the main attraction as David Marconi applies Besson formula to Sahara action thriller.

After a 20-year absence since his directorial debut, writer David Marconi is back behind the camera with a Luc Besson-backed action thriller set in the Sahara and starring French-Moroccan actor Roschdy Zem (Outside the Law). The usual Besson rules of rapid action and broad-brush characterization apply, but without an empathetic hero of the sort incarnated by Liam Neeson in the Taken franchise, Intersections may struggle to find an audience. On the plus side, the scenery is great, the characters are a spectacularly unlovely bunch and the implausibilities of the plot mount up at such a rate that it's almost fun ticking them off as they come.

When New York hedge fund manager Scott Dolan (Frank Grillo) and his new bride Taylor (Jaimie Alexander) set out on a desert excursion for their honeymoon, it's clear that villainy is afoot, because in no time at all Taylor is cheating on her husband with one of his colleagues, Travis (Charlie Bewley). After a car chase through the vast sandy wastes, the two men contrive to cause a multiple pile-up involving vehicles carrying diamond smuggler Omar (Moussa Maaskri) -- being transferred to a prison under police escort -- and a young French woman, Audrey (Marie-Josee Croze), who is carrying a small baby. The policeman dies in the crash but the numbers are made up by the arrival of the mysterious stranger Saleh (Zem) whose motorbike has broken down in the vicinity.

From here on in, it's a question of survival. Each of the characters harbors a hidden agenda, usually murderous, in two cases made explicit by means of flashbacks. None of the characters attracts much sympathy, except possibly the small baby. The resourceful Saleh is the nearest to a positive figure, but he's the strong, silent type whose motives are not made clear until the ending. An hour into the film, by which time two of the characters are dead, one of the vehicles is repaired and the action transfers to the port city of Essaouira, where a new villain, Cyril (Carlos Leal), is encountered.

It's all pure tosh, of course, and if the gleam of complicity between two of the surviving characters at the close is intended to provide a touch of meaning or warmth, it fails. Given a sufficient lowering of expectations, the film can, at a pinch, be enjoyed, and canny marketing may harvest a commercial return. Full marks to stunt organizer Dominique Fouassier for the car crash. Otherwise, the movie adds nothing of significance to the CVs of anyone involved.

Opened: Wednesday, Jan. 30
Production companies: EuropaCorp, Grive Productions
Cast: Roschdy Zem, Frank Grillo, Jaimie Alexander, Marie-Josee Croze, Moussa Maaskri, Charley Bewley, Afif Ben Badra, Carlos Leal, Gabriella Wright
Director: David Marconi
Writer: David Marconi
Photography: Thomas Hardmeier
Producers: Fanny Besson, Gareth Upton
Production Design: Bertrand Seitz
Editor: Julien Rey
Music: Richard Horowitz
Sales: EuropaCorp
No MPAA rating
Running time: 101 minutes