|05 january 2024
We've been eagerly awaiting the new film from director Xavier Gens.n Appreciated for his work on films such as Frontier(s) and Hitman, as well as the Gangs of London series, we could expect an effective, stylized action film, and it has to be said that the result exceeds our expectations.
Set in Thailand, the film's main plot follows Sam (Nassim Lyes), a former gang member who has fled to this country after killing a member of his former gang in self-defense. Sam tries to rebuild his life, but is forced to work for a local godfather named Narong (Olivier Gourmet) when he embarks on a real estate project. Clearly, this film marks a resurgence of action cinema in France. Xavier Gens once again confirms his talent as one of the genre's most gifted directors. He cleverly blends familiar themes of fate, redemption and revenge with unique elements to spice up the narrative. Nassim Lyes, who plays the lead role, delivers a powerful performance, particularly in the intense, violent fight scenes. One of the most striking sequences is a fight to the death in an elevator.
Aware of the film's Thai setting, Xavier Gens integrates the art of Thai boxing into the action scenes. Local stuntmen contribute their expertise, resulting in thrilling and brutal sequences that will delight action movie fans. Although Farang fails to reach the legendary heights of works such as Ong-Bak and certain Hong Kong films, it offers an exciting and immersive experience.
The film's story begins in France, but quickly plunges the viewer into the exoticism of Thailand. This change of environment offers a more mystical and atmospheric experience, where the sets and sequences take on a magical dimension, particularly during the night shots. The action sequences are distinguished by their brilliance, violence and suspense. Xavier Gens demonstrates incredible talent in directing these scenes, rivaling American and Asian productions. The sequences are charged with strong emotion, particularly when the protagonist embarks on a perilous journey to rescue his kidnapped daughter. Xavier Gens achieves a remarkable balance in the film's depiction of violence. The gore is not gratuitous, and the violence is aesthetically presented without being overly glorified. The staging effectively conveys the impact of the blows, while Nassim Lyes delivers a performance that is both physical and emotional.
Mayhem! offers a unique French take on films like Old Boy. It stands out in the French cinematic landscape by offering a distinct and atypical proposition. Although some sequences may be difficult for sensitive viewers, the film offers a high-quality experience to enjoy. Above all, Farang is a bold project in today's cinematic landscape. Xavier Gens draws on his experience with the Gangs of London series to deliver a hard-hitting, ultra-violent action film.
Action cinema has evolved considerably over the years, and Mayehm! recalls a time when the intensity of violence wasn't confined to video-on-demand releases. It's surprising to see a film like Farang released in cinemas, as it reminds audiences of the days of breathtaking, visually arresting action films. Xavier Gens draws on his in-depth knowledge of the genre to create an authentic and captivating experience. You won't regret seeing this film at the cinema.
Mayhem! (Farang )
Directed by Xavier Gens
Produced by Xavier Gens, Guillaume Lemans
Written by Xavier Gens, Guillaume Lemans, Magali Rossito
With Vithaya Pansringarm, Nassim Lyes, Loryn Nounay, Olivier Gourmet, Chananticha Tang-Kwa, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Yothin Udomsanti, Boonsong Nakphoo, Sawanee Utoomma, Narilya Gulmongkolpech, Alix Poisson, Sarut Khanwilai
Music: Jean-Pierre Thaïeb
Director of photography : Gilles Porte
Editing: Riwanon Le Beller
Production companies: Same Player InternationalDistributionExports WTFilms,, The Ink Connection, Two Suns
Distributed by StudioCanal (France), IFC Films (United States)
Release date: June 28, 2023 (France), January 5, 2024 (United States)
Running time: 99 minutes
Seen on June 28, 2023 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 5 seat A19