A retired mobster goes on a revenge spree after being left for dead with 22 bullets in his body by his former childhood friend.
Release Year: 2010
Rating: 6.7/10 (11,605 voted)
Stars: Jean Reno, Marina Foïs, Kad Merad
Charly Mattei has turned a new leaf on his past as an outlaw. For the past three years he's been living a comfortable life and devoting himself to his wife and two kids. However, one winter morning, he's left for dead in the underground parking garage of Marseille's Old Port with 22 bullets in his body. Against all odds, he will not die.
Writers: Franz-Olivier Giesbert, Richard Berry
Le sang versé ne sèche jamais (Shedded blood never dries)
Release Date: 24 March 2010
Filming Locations: Avignon, Vaucluse, France
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: €2,612,032
(28 March 2010)
(11 April 2010)
Did You Know?
Filming lasted 14 weeks.
A Nutshell Review: 22 Bullets
Based loosely on a true story premise where a French gangster got
pumped with lead and left for dead but miraculously survived the hit,
22 Bullets is a revenge flick worthy of its Europa Corp pedigree so
you'll know just what to expect – a stylish thriller filled with
anti-heroes, and plenty of gratuitous violence with the charismatic
Jean Reno in the role of an avenging angel out to settle scores when
the perpetrators just wouldn't leave him alone in his retired life.
As the adage goes, one can never quite leave the gangland, and Reno's
Charly Mattei, a once feared mobster in Marseille who signalled his
retirement through the selling of his businesses to childhood friend
Tony Zacchia (Kad Merad in a serious role), it's all about having a
reputation that's still influential, and in order for friends to want
to move along with their plans against his moral tones of zero
involvement in drugs, the only way is to launch a pre- emptive strike
to take Mattei out of the equation, only for the group of gunmen to
fail in their quest and Mattei's reputation grows to become L'Immortel
for obvious reasons.
Like the Godfather series, one may want to get out from one's violent
past, but circumstances pull one right back into the thick of the
action. For Mattei, it's almost giving the other cheek up for another
slap when the mob goes after him in the hospital, but the last straw
that broke the camel's back came from the targeting of his remaining
loyal soldiers, and thus the avenging angel is born, nevermind if one
of his arm is now paralyzed.
It's a story of honour amongst thieves, how some hoodlums fail to pay
heed to the established rules of engagement of never crossing the line
to hurt women and children, and essentially family members in their
violent public spat. As for the cops led by Marie Goldman (Marina
Fois), she's eager to look for an opening to avenge her husband's
killing, yet bounded by duty to know that she has to keep personal and
business separate. What more, it's to the police's advantage that the
mob is killing one another, and thus warned to keep an arm's length at
the explosive gangland war. In a strange parallel between those finding
on opposite sides of the fence, it's all about doing a job, and then
going home to family at the end of the day.
Directed by Richard Berry who also had a small role in the film, 22
Bullets is unflinching in its violence, and the mowing down of Charly
Mattei early in the film somehow is reminiscent of other massacres such
as that of Sonny Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, or
Murphy in Paul Verhoeven's Robocop. Don't expect Mattei to be dishing
out revenge with creativity though, as his is a simple dispatch
involving a signature one shot to the head, and one to the heart, two
critical areas to ensure the grim reaper comes calling. There are the
occasional lapses into monologues, although it does play up the fear
factor here when he carries out the threat of striking when his enemies
least expect him to.
Jean Reno as usual excels in this role, and you'll find yourself
rooting for his character despite his flaws and what his character
actually was in the past. As Zacchia puts it succinctly, a wrong is a
wrong no matter what layer of morality gets draped over it. Kad Merad's
Zacchia too puts in a moment of brilliance when he delivered a
hypocritical speech about the value of close friendships, while his
demeanour behind closed doors is anything but, lying to the masses
without a flinch.
22 Bullets is a straightforward thriller that worked without too much
surprises, but its slick delivery more than makes up for any of its