MOVIE REVIEW: Bastille Day

Idris Elba stars as a CIA agent assigned to the Paris office.  When an American is linked to a terrorist attack he sets out to find him before the French Authorities.  What lies behind the attack is something more troubling than sectarian reasons.


About ten minutes into this film I wondered if Liam Neeson was just busy while this was shooting and then Idris Elba came into his own.  The reason that I say this is because over the last few years this is the type of film that Neeson makes his bank on.  It takes a while to warm up to this film but then you start to realise that it’s just damn good plain entertainment.  They don’t break new ground, they don’t do anything wrong, they just want to entertain you in the best possible way.  The whole film is set up so that you can turn your brain off and just enjoy the action.

I do have a few problems and the main one is that the film hires Europeans to play Americans, and apart from Elba, they can’t do a convincing accent.

This is a major irritant for me, like an itchy jumper, as it makes a fun action film feel cheap and nasty, while it doesn’t affect the film’s entertainment that much it just annoys me.  First World problems huh?

Anyway.  The film is hitting on probably a freshly exposed nerve with the terror attacks in France and Belgium still raw.  The points of reality here may just be too real for some.

Game of Thrones star Richard Madden plays the hustling pick pocket that gets tied up in the terror plot and he’s fine.  I would have liked the chemistry between him and Elba to be tightened up a little and they could have managed to avoid the cliché moments and just possibly do some improvised moments instead.  These two lads can act, they have the acting chops, so why not trust them to do an exercise in how else these two men thrown together could solve the problem.


When the twist in the story and the conspiracy is revealed to the audience it doesn’t really come as a shock, but it’s an interesting take on the story.  The script and the direction are okay, once you just want an action movie that you can escape into for a time.  There are too many moments through the film that you can write in your head before they happen.

As with the BBC One show that recently graced our screens in Ireland called The Night Manager in which Tom Hiddleston basically threw his hat into the ring for the James Bond job, you get the feeling that Idris Elba is using this film to do the same.  Not complaining, just know we know, that’s all that there is to say about that.

With the lines between fiction and our reality shaved as close as they can this is an entertaining film that will bring you back to the news that we see.  Fans of Elba will love this, it’s Luther mixed with Jason Bourne.  The entertainment is high as is the escapism.  Don’t take the three out of five as a bad sign, the majority of films we get are around this score.  This is the type of film that I’d go see on opening day first thing in the morning, it manages to fulfill the one thing that I ask of the cinema, it takes me away briefly from my own world and entertains me.  Job done!

Director: James Watkins
Writer: Andrew Baldwin
Stars: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Kelly Reilly

Check out the trailer below:

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