Kompromat (2022) Film Review
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.
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