The Great Man | Chicago Reader

The Great Man

103 minutes 2014

An undocumented Chechen immigrant joins the French Foreign Legion in the hope of receiving citizenship, but instead he receives a dishonorable discharge after breaking with protocol to save a fellow legionnaire during an ambush. Most of this subdued drama takes place after the protagonist has returned to Paris, where he reconnects with his school-age son and tries every trick in the book to avoid getting deported. The characters are nicely written and performed (Jérémie Renier is typically fine as the hero's buddy in the military), and writer-director Sarah Leonor demonstrates an assured, literary sense of time passing. Yet the film is constricted by its narrow tonal range; everything unfolds in the same blandly naturalistic register. In French and Chechen with subtitles.

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