TIFF 2017 Review: “Racer and the Jailbird” (2017) ★★★★

Matthias Shoenaerts is one of the most interesting and charismatic actors in Europe, while Adele Exapchopoulos is probably one of the promising young actresses that finds her perfect acting partner in ‘Racer and the Jailbird’ written and directed by Michaël R. Roskam.

Benedicte is a promising racer. She likes speed and adrenalin. Gino is handsome but without a promising future due to his job as a gangster. Two different people with a different view of the world fall for each other madly. However, under given circumstances and Gino’s dark side of, it life does not cooperate well with Bibi and Gino’s plan to live happily ever after.

What we learn though is that Gino is afraid of dogs and that is something you will be reminded repeatedly throughout the film. However, he has a better fear and that is of losing Benedicte. However, his friends and his commitments to the gang does not allow him to start his life free from violence, as every time when he attempts a gunned robbery, it takes him further away from the love of his life. But his biggest fascination in life is yet to come when to his greatest surprise he realizes that Benedicte’s affection and love for him is much stronger than any legal problems he can face and even death cannot tear them apart…

Roskam`s ‘Racer and the Jailbird’ is an impressive crime drama that well captures the importance of love and its immortality. The chemistry between Matthias Schoenaerts and Adèle Exarchopoulos allowed the viewer to fully enjoy their first time collaboration, which was in a way captivating and beautiful. Overall, it’s another cleverly made film from Europe that for a long time has succeeded at this genre much better than even Hollywood, which could not make any of us more happier. And the concept between two unlike souls; one that races toward the win while another one races from life itself is an idea I hope will be researched and told in-depth sometime in the future.



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