Film Review: Racer and the Jailbird

When it comes to countries with rich cinematic histories, Belgium has never really ranked as a heavyweight. Indeed, much of the best output to come from that portion of the Low Countries has been courtesy of the Dardenne brothers (The Kid with a Bike, Daens, The Promise, Two Days, One Night etc). They’re not the only force though. In recent times, Matthias Schoenaerts has played an important role. He teams up with Michaël R. Roskam, the nation’s hottest new director, for his new film Racer and the Jailbird.

Gino (Schoenaerts) is a playboy gangster, masquerading as a legitimate businessman with a penchant for parties and fun. Bénédicte (Adèle Exarchopoulos) likes to experience life in the fast lane. When she’s not working for the family business, she lives out her passion by racing on the circuit. When the pair meet, it’s love at first sight. However, Gino’s mysterious disappearances begin to put a strain on the relationship, as does his failure to go straight.

Racer and the Jailbird is a breath-taking mix of drama, action, romance and crime which keeps its foot firmly on the throttle. Roskam does a great job of juggling all the elements, whilst Schoenaerts and Exarchopoulos are both excellent as the star-crossed lovers. Racer and the Jailbird is a stylish thriller packed with energy and exuberance. Strap yourself in. It’s one heck of a rollercoaster ride of thrills and spills.

Racer and the Jailbird is in cinemas and on demand from 13 July.

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