Black box: an effective paranoid mental thriller [critique]

A great acting number by Pierre Niney in this film which won the Audience Award at the recent Angoulême festival.

Released on September 8, 2021 in cinemas, Black Box will be broadcast this evening for the first time on television, on Canal +. First recommend it to you.

After a plane crash, the BEA must decrypt the black box of the device. Is it a terrorist act or a tragic accident due to a mechanical problem? Even the experts contradict each other. From the start of the film, Gozlan immerses his viewers in the cabin at the moment of impact. The sequence is striking: crossing the entire plane from the cockpit to the famous black box in a beautiful sequence shot, the viewer tries to form an opinion. But doubt sets in. Did we really see a suspicious man get up at the last moment? Did we really hear an “Allah ouakbar”? This is the question that will also gnaw at Mathieu Vasseur (Pierre Niney). This engineer quickly takes charge of the investigation. Rigorous, he is a technician with perfect pitch but who is as stubborn as he is arrogant. And above all, he is ready to sacrifice everything on the altar of science and his reason.

By espousing the point of view of this ambiguous hero, Gozlan plays with the realism of procedures and sets. The first part of the film locks its main character and the viewer in his mental labyrinth. Vasseur’s obsessive quest unfolds in a sophisticated staging (tight editing, elaborate sound mixing) that make Black Box an effective paranoid thriller. And then halfway through, Gozlan leaves the shores of scientific investigation, for those of the action thriller. More marked out, chromed like a Europacorp thriller, the film multiplies the chases and the treasure hunt gets stronger… In both cases, Pierre Niney’s interpretation forces the viewer to review their certainties each time, to iron the thread of what he has just seen to make sure if we can really trust this technician on the verge of taking the world into his madness.

By Yann Gozlan. With Pierre Niney, Lou de Laâge, Olivier Rabourdin… Duration 2h09.

Pierre Niney: “If Maïwenn offers me a film, I sign with both hands”

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