The Magnet

  • 2000
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime, Drama

Never mind the title: There's nothing at all compelling about this late entry in the ebbing wave of multi-culti French crime films. Written and directed by leads Kamel Saleh and French hip-hop star Akhenaton, and produced on what appears to have been a miniscule budget, the film is set in the port city of Marseilles, where the lives of a group of second-generation...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Never mind the title: There's nothing at all compelling about this late entry in the ebbing wave of multi-culti French crime films. Written and directed by leads Kamel Saleh and French hip-hop star Akhenaton, and produced on what appears to have been a miniscule budget, the film is set in the port city of Marseilles, where the lives of a group of second-generation immigrant friends and petty thieves end in predictable tragedies. Cahuete (Saleh), the group's ostensible leader, sells empty VCR boxes to a group of African immigrants and winds up in jail. Brooding Sauveur (Akhenaton), who claims to be looking for legitimate work, is thrown out on the streets by his temperamental Italian father. Volatile Fouad (Kamel Ferrat), Marseilles-born and sick of being treated like a foreigner because of his complexion, spins out of control when his Arab mother suffers a heart attack. The only one who seems to be getting anywhere is Santino (Titoff), a would-be player who's involved in a dangerous game with some very real gangsters. The soundtrack is an interesting mixture of French hip-hop and American soul, but it's only a stylish gloss over a strangely empty film. The title refers to the locale, a Marseilles neighborhood known as Le Panier (literally, "the basket"), whose familiar pull somehow keeps these restless homeboys stuck in their dead-end ruts. But as depicted here, Marseilles betrays no compelling presence whatsoever. No doubt because the guerrilla filmmakers were forced to shoot late at night and in the early-morning hours, the streets of Le Panier are eerily empty, so rather than looking like perpetual outsiders in their own hometown, these boys appear to have an entire city to themselves. (In French, Arabic and Italian, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Never mind the title: There's nothing at all compelling about this late entry in the ebbing wave of multi-culti French crime films. Written and directed by leads Kamel Saleh and French hip-hop star Akhenaton, and produced on what appears to have been a min… (more)

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