The Nest (2002)

Country: France
Director: Florent Emilio Siri
Starring: Nadia Farés, Samy Naceri, Benoit Magimel, Pascal Greggory, Sami Bouajila, Anisia Uzeyman, Richard Sammel
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Original Title: Nid De Guépes

The Nest, in some ways could be considered a companion piece to District 13. Why? Both are very tough, modern French action films. They also share another common trait – they are both extreme examples of style over substance. No maybe that isn’t being fair – there may be a whisker of substance in there, but both films are so rapidly paced with stunt after stunt, action set piece after set piece, that any characterisation is left to fall between the cracks. But as an adjunct to that, it is also fair to say that in these films, the characters are so ‘black and white’ that they are defined by their actions – it’s the only insight we get into them as human beings. But more about District 13 another day.

The Nest, despite it’s trappings of being a modern urban decay thriller is essentially an updated western. The director lets us know this from the start when 5 hoods, who are off to knock-off a warehouse start whistling the theme from The Magnificent Seven.

The film contains several story threads that all converge at a warehouse in the centre of an industrial park. The first thread concerns Laborie, an officer in the Special Forces, who is assigned to transport the head of an Albanian crime syndicate to trial in an armed transport. But as you’d expect, the syndicate attempt to release their imprisoned leader. The mobsters assault Laborie and her team on route, but their attack only partially succeeds. Laborie is forced to retreat. With her prisoner in tow, she seeks refuge in the aforementioned warehouse.

Another story thread concerns a gang of thieves who have chosen that same warehouse as their target for their next heist. The final figure in the equation is the security guard who works at the warehouse. Naturally, this will be an evening that is quite different to his usual routine.

Now usually this disparate collection of people in such close proximity would provide enough conflict an drama for a film, but when the syndicate’s soldiers track Laborie to the warehouse, they surround and lay siege to the building. Continuing the western analogy from before, those trapped inside the warehouse (or nest) are like a group of cowboys trapped in fort, surrounded by a horde of savage Indians on the warpath.

Now all the characters are in place, the dumb shoot ‘em up can commence. It may sound like I am slagging off The Nest for being another mindless action film. Far from it. I really enjoyed it in a ‘check your brain at the door’ kinda way. And as I said at the top – it’s style against substance – and The Nest has more style than any ten Seagal, Van Damme (or any other Hollywood meathead action star) movies. And since I have foolishly mentioned Hollywood, how long do you think it will be before they mount a remake…I kinda see Angelina Jollie as Laborie, and Ed Norton….I hope not!

The Nest (2002)

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