Starring: Tomer Sisely, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Miki Manojoivic, Melanie Thierry, Gilbert Melki, Karl Roden, Steven Waddington, David Gasman
Nerio Winch, Billionaire Balkan businessman and head of the multinational Winch corporation dies in suspicious circumstances on his yacht in Hong Kong harbour. The corporation is left vulnerable to a hostile takeover by the remorseless Korsk group and the board are thrown into disarray and infighting.
The only way to save the multi Billion Dollar Winch Empire is to locate Nerio’s adopted son and heir, Largo and bring him into the boardroom with his controlling shares and make him the head.
Trouble is, largo is an impetuous and independent minded young man with an adventurous streak. At the time of his father’s death he is busy drifting around South America getting into all kinds of trouble with private militias, corrupt police gangs and mysterious French girls.
Stunned to hear of his adopted father’s death, and immediately thrown into a world of corporate intrigue, and ruthless white collar criminals he must first identify who he can trust before working out how to save his father’s legacy.
Largo Winch is a complex film, it weaves together a fast paced modern corporate espionage story with the personal and often powerful human drama of Largo’s early life with his foster family and Nerio. It’s complex but never confusing however, and as the story unveils it becomes more and more gripping.
We are rushed around the world half a dozen times between Hong Kong’s business district, the Adriatic coast of the former Yugoslavia, and South America, and on the way the dialogue is spoken in Portuguese, French, Serbo-Croat, English, Russian, and Cantonese (Don’t worry, there are some skilfully written subtitles which perfectly capture the meaning and mood.)
Tomer Sisely (Paris Lockdown) as Largo is very watchable indeed. His portrayal of the angry and rootless young adventurer punching kicking and screwing his way through life is arresting, especially when things get serious about half way through and his martial skills are really put to the test.
Miki Manojlovic as Nerio is the father figure from Hell, impossibly authoritative and tough, but with such depths of charisma. And their story is helped along very well by a sizable supporting cast with a few familiar faces. Kristin Scott Thomas as Ann Ferguson is icily precise. Gilbert Melki as Nerio’s bodyguard and go-to guy Freddy (who becomes a pivotal role by the way) is brilliantly calm and measured in even the tightest of spots.
The beautiful, elfin Mélanie Thierry as the Escort/ Fixer/ independent thief/ extortionist is deliciously sexy with a dangerous edge.
And to be honest, I could go on. The cast work extremely well from Hong Kong Chinese Bankers, through Croat farmers, to British ex Military security operatives, all are wonderfully underplayed with an aura of realism that is simply absent from most global action dramas (think Bond).
Jerome Salle has directed this film well, against some beautiful backdrops, and he pulls surprising performances from the cast, and some spectacular combat sequences from Largo and his opponents.
Steven Waddington as Markus the security officer provides some serious action sequences too. His brutal military combat style is in complete contrast to the acrobatic flexible Largo, and he is equally threatening with a weapon or without.
The manoeuvring and plotting in the boardrooms and exclusive restaurants is so relentless and in it’s own way vicious. There are billions of dollars and stellar careers at stake at one end, and family, loyalty and honour at the other. People feel forced to do terrible things in pursuit of money or power or both, and Largo, in the midst of it all seems to be having trouble finding a reason to be involved at all.
As well as being a deeply intriguing corporate drama, and kick ass action movie
is quite an interesting study of heredity, wealth, power and what it means to leave a legacy.
A great film from any angle, highly enjoyable.
8 out of 10 (Sulaco)
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