Dheepan (2015)


Dheepan Review

Dheepan is a 2015 crime drama film directed by Jacques Audiard and starring Antonythasan Jesuthasan and Kalieswari Srinivasan. It is such a well crafted movie that is the year’s finest foreign film.

It follows the three Tamil refugees who flee from their war-ravaged Sri Lanka and come to France to start over. This film works as a great, important drama. By showing you their coping and adapting to a new country, the film becomes really powerful and also quite emotional. I loved its realistic approach as well. It shows how France may be open to accepting refugees, but the society isn’t and that scene where the child is rejected in school by her classmates is the best one as it perfectly demonstrates that.

But I loved how the two adults try to adapt to living in France and to the new people they meet. The film wonderfully shows you all of that, but in subtle ways which I appreciated immensely. The film has such a great direction and script. However, there is one thing that bothered me and that is its crime aspect. The film is a drama in the first half, but becomes a crime flick in the third act. And I disliked its tendency to go into basically third person shooter action territory as everything that came before it was quite the opposite – smart and subdued. And that shift in tone that the film makes is most certainly jarring.

That is a flaw, but the reason why I still did not hate that aspect is because how well executed it was. It follows the action from the protagonist’s point of view with some superb camera movements and the action is so well executed with some really clever choices being made. I really liked those scenes and I really think that they were extremely well handled, but still not necessary for the overall story.

The characters are really well realized due to some strong characterization. Dheepan is really well depicted, but I felt Yalini to be the stronger and more memorable character. She is so likable in some scenes, but also unlikable in other ones. She is realistic and very well developed. The acting is absolutely terrific. Antonythasan Jesuthasan did such a good job in his role, but it is Kalieswari Srinivasan who is the highlight in a more difficult role. She did such a great job and gave one of the year’s finest female performances.

The humor in Dheepan is very good. Yes, the fact that this movie even has humor is unexpected, but it is a positive thing to me as it made the characters more real and more relatable and led to a better tone. The humor is so good and so observant (as is the entire movie) that I laughed many times and I found those scenes to be very charming as well. It truly does have such a great screenplay.

Dheepan is very well directed and the direction from Jacques Audiard is so good and professional that it just might be the film’s finest aspect. The entire film is incredibly well crafted. It is the kind of movie that is important because of its subject matter, but is admirably never slow or preachy or too crime-oriented which I loved. And the attention to detail is so great as the movie is wonderfully sophisticated and observant and looks at the scenario from different angles. The dialogue is also really good and the film has a big heart. It has some very emotional scenes, but it is also quite effervescent from time to time which I did not expect. And it is also quite well edited and paced. Dheepan is such a great movie that it is to me the finest foreign film of the year and it undoubtedly deserved its Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Dheepan is such a great movie. The directing is so good here, the acting is superb and the characterization is terrific. Its third person shooter aspect near the end is definitely troublesome, but it is still very well executed. It is great as an observant and sophisticated drama that is also quite important and emotional to see. It is even charming at times with a surprisingly good humor. It is above all such a well crafted movie on all levels and without a doubt the year’s finest foreign film.

My Rating – 4.5

Posted in 2010s, 2015, Crime, Drama, FILM DECADES, Foreign, French, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , .

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