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The Young Lieutenant(Le petit lieutenant)

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France · 2005
1h 50m
Director Xavier Beauvois
Starring Nathalie Baye, Jalil Lespert, Roschdy Zem, Antoine Chappey
Genre Drama, Crime

A policeman fresh out of the academy is partnered with a middle-aged veteran detective recovering from alcoholism in the brutal homicide department of Paris. They have their differences, but they'll need to work together to catch the culprit behind a spree of violent crimes.

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What are critics saying?


New York Post by

Keeps such a lazy pace, with so many scenes that fail to move the story forward, that it should be cited for failing to meet the minimum speed for a crime drama.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

A flinty, almost hardhearted work about characters who have lost almost everything in pursuit of some undefinable abstraction, like honor or their country or doing the right thing. It's an impressive film, but don't expect any warm fuzzies.


New York Daily News by Jack Mathews

On the surface, Le Petit Lieutenant is propelled by the search for two Russians somehow responsible for a pair of murders along the Seine. And though that's a pretty mundane setup for an urban drama, it serves nicely in allowing us to get to know the haunted Caroline and the impetuous Antoine.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

Le Petit Lieutenant embraces the spectrum of human drama and comedy, and like a lot of French films it is keenly involved with the everyday pulse of work.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

Beauvois, who co-wrote, seems hellbent on making the most realistic cop film of all time, shruggingly consumed with downtime, small talk, minor incident, and dead ends, and he's succeeded--the narrative wouldn't have cut it in a Kojak story meeting.


Christian Science Monitor by Peter Rainer

Nathalie Baye is remarkable in Le Petit Lieutenant where she plays Caroline Vaudieu, a Parisian police inspector who returns to her post after a bout with alcoholism following her child's death.


The Hollywood Reporter by Sheri Linden

The drama's moments of cinematic power more than compensate for the slow-moving stretches that don't connect, and its characters will stay with viewers long after the lights go up.

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