Kompromat (2022) Film Review

Kompromat (2022) Film Review
There are few moments of levity in "Kompromat", but they do sneak in. After escaping house arrest in Siberia, Mathieu Roussel (Gilles Lellouche) bolts to the French Embassy in Moscow. The embassy concocts a plan to clandestinely transport Roussel to Russia's western border. His French allies will then abandon him to trek solo through twelve miles of forest populated by wolves and armed border guards, after which he may be allowed sanctuary in Estonia. Roussel listens carefully to the scheme and replies with a smile, "Okay. Great."

Roussel is not being sarcastic. While his staggering naivete enables him to take risks, the trait is also responsible for his life-threatening predicament. In his capacity as director of the Alliance Francaise in Irkutsk, Roussel stages a ballet with homosexual themes; this in a country where "promotion" of gay sexuality is criminalized. He subsequently receives a dressing-down from a Russian magnate who lectures him on the decadence of the West. "You represent everything we loathe," he intones.

The story line of "Kompromat", an innocent man falsely accused who then effectuates an extraordinary escape, makes the film something of a darker, European version of "The Fugitive" (1993). The tension in "Kompromat" does not arise from bravura action set pieces as in the American film, however. The edge-of-the-seat moments emanate from the constant menace of betrayal by the sympathetic Russians in whom Roussel places his faith. This is particularly true of his romantic counterpart, Svetlana (Joanna Kulig). As in "The Fugitive" though, the protagonist realizes he must save himself. Dr. Richard Kimble solves the mystery of his wife's murder while Roussel engineers his own flight to freedom.

The color palette of "Kompromat", photographed by Matias Boucard, reinforces the desperation of its main character. Greys and browns dominate. Splashes of red, indicating sensuality and emotional connection, are used for the ballet sequence and Svetlana's wardrobe. Pink is appropriately associated with Roussel's daughter, Rose.

The playful relationship between Roussel and his daughter is handled adroitly by Gilles Lellouche. It's a pleasure to watch Lellouche play, in his words, an ordinary hero. As "Kompromat" director Jerome Salles stated, "I think he's improved with time, in that he shows his sensitivity, his tenderness more. These colors suit him."

"Kompromat" was released in 2022. The film's original language is French. It is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video and is available on DVD. I watched the film at my own expense.

You Should Also Read:
The Clearstream Affair Film Review

Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2023 by Angela K. Peterson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Angela K. Peterson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Angela K. Peterson for details.