Actors: Vincent Cassel, Nigel Barber, Jeremy Chabriel
Director: Ariel Kleiman
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Well Go USA
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Run Time: 97 minutes
Partisan sets up its plot with a certain level of ambiguity and mystery, which had me hooked from the beginning. I can always respect a film that doesn’t spoon-feed its audience members, but unfortunately much of the intrigue set up was lost within director Ariel Kleiman’s lack of interest. Instead, this remains a film about the characters, though Kleiman fails to see how establishing the world in which they live has an impact on the characters within it. Partisan contains impressive performances, though there is little to relate to when we are given so little understanding of where they come from.
Partisan begins with dialogue-free opening showing the creation of a cult-like compound in an unnamed city full of decrepit buildings and unkempt foliage. Whether this is meant to take place in the future or is mirrored after a real-life crumbling society is unclear, as the film tends to focus more on the Utopian society Gregori (Vincent Cassel) creates amidst the wreckage. Sequestered from the rest of the city is Gregori’s collection of battered and abused women, joined by their young children. Gregori is the only man allowed in their hidden society, though the flaw comes from the fact that there is a clear expiration date to his plan. Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel) is the eldest boy in the compound at 11 years of age, and he begins to question the lifestyle Gregori has built as he matures. This is even more threatening to Gregori’s way of life considering he has trained the young boy to work as an assassin.
All of the children are trained killers in Gregori’s compound, which is how he makes money to support the many victimized women and children. They are taught to survive, but it becomes clear to Alexander that Gregori’s motives may be more selfish than he had thought. The more that the charismatic leader is questioned, the clearer it becomes that he demands control and adoration from those he shelters. Gregori has placed himself in a God-like position among “his people,” and Alexander quietly begins to question the world he was raised in. As he does this, Alexander must also reconsider the world that Gregori has excluded them from.
The Blu-ray release of Partisan includes interviews and a trailer for special features. The high definition presentation doesn’t do much for the barebones cinematic style of filmmaking, though there are ominous moments where the 5.1 HD surround sound seemed to enhance the film viewing experience. All in all, this is a mildly interesting film best suited for those who felt The Professional was too mainstream.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 5.5/10