Since his breakthrough performance in Mathieu Kassovitz’s masterpiece La Haine in 1995, Vincent Cassel has become one of the most recognisable French actors. While he is now a regular feature in Hollywood films, often portraying the bad guy, much of his best work has been in his native language. The likes of L’Appartement, The Crimson Rivers, Read My Lips, Irreversible and Brotherhood of the Wolf all helped make his name, but his performance in Dobermann is possibly the most memorable.
Dobermann (Cassel) has literally been a fan of guns from an early age. This affection has only grown with age. Today, he is the leader of a brutal criminal gang, which includes his girlfriend Nat (Monica Bellucci), which is responsible for a number of robberies across the French capital. He’s top of the police’s most wanted list, but has evaded them so far. However, a sadistic cop (Tchéky Karyo) is determined to bring him to justice.
Dobermann is very much a reflection of the era in which it was made. The 1990s loom large across writer/director Jan Kounen’s film. It’s slick, stylish and bloody, owing a debt to filmmakers such as Luc Besson and Quentin Tarantino. With names like Pitbull and Nat the Gypsy, you pretty much know what to expect. Dobermann remains a pulpy and lurid crime portrait which benefits from a fantastic cast and imaginative action sequences.
Dobermann is re-released in UK cinemas and on Digital downloads on 13 May.