After Bronx on Netflix, Olivier Marchal joins forces with another streaming platform and signs an action thriller that undoubtedly bears his mark… until the overdose?
Oliver Marchal’s obsession with borderline cops and organized crime is not new, he who has always fed his films with his own experience under the badge. And if his next project, Johnny Smettends to take him out of his comfort zone, Overdose, he bears his trademark. You can’t spend 21 years filming the filth of the uniform and the settling of scores without keeping the automatisms and chasing the natural, it comes back at a gallop.
We follow Sara, head of the narcotics squad of the Toulouse police, trying to stop a go-fast between Spain and France. This one is led by a dangerous gang infiltrated by her former lover. His mission will resonate as far as Paris where Richard, the head of the criminal police, is investigating a double murder which also leads him on the trail of this go-fast.
An easy subject for the filmmaker who has abandoned all interest in romantic characters, preferring unbridled action to psychological thrillers. He who built his reputation on his sobriety and his sense of storytelling in 36 Quai des Goldsmiths abandoned the sticky story for the flashy staging combining clichés. A shift that began a few films ago and culminated previously with Bronx, made for competitor Netflix.
Overdose multiplies the tracks to inflate a scenario which ultimately boils down to a few things: playing policeman and thief with a gallery of cinema “mouths” ready for anything. Lots of characters, lots of noise, lots of clichés. Worse, the director comes to drool. The eternal loneliness of the uniform, the eternal trinity of drugs, sex and heavy guns. The ground is known, rehashed, reworked.
A repetition that could be more easily defensible if we did not imagine Marchal being bored with this Amazon Prime Video production. As if the desire was gone, he doesn’t even bother with his characters anymore. They may have screen time, but they appear mechanical, without contours, like tools that we get rid of when the scenario must move forward without being cluttered.
It must be said that by multiplying the forces involved, it became difficult to give them each the same importance. As a result, the filmmaker has chosen: no one will have one. An infuriating observation, especially since we have a solid cast that deserves more, even among the supporting roles where we will note the presence of a certain Kool Shen. One would almost suspect Oliver Marchal of wanting to get rid of a chore.
And if Olivier Marchal seems to have forgotten the qualities of his cinema, the sticky, the twilight, to retain only the clumsiness, he is nonetheless an effective filmmaker who knows how to make the action speak. The one who dedicates his film to Jean-Paul Belmondo seems more than ever to live in the nostalgia of the Bebel period Cops and robberspresenting himself as a champion of an old-fashioned cinema that you never get out of.
The director maintains the rhythm from start to finish, compensating for his complete lack of originality with an excessive use of trompe-l’oeil. Each of her scenes smells of powder and adult diapers. Film rinsed, script worn, but which always retains this little something that we never sulk. A burnt thriller that we take advantage of and then forget about. Still, we wish Olivier Marchal to renew himself, because there, he seems to be in full overdose.
Discover Overdose on Prime Video