Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: A gripping police noir, Le Petit Lieutenant tells the story of Antoine, an ambitious young cop from the provinces who joins a plainclothes crime unit in Paris. Antoine spends his days eagerly awaiting his first assignment, drinking with his fellow detectives, and developing and unlikely relationship with his superior, a veteran policewoman with a troubled past. But when the body of a drifter is found murdered along the Seine, a seemingly routine investigation suddenly turns violent and forever changes all their lives. (Cinema Guild) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. More than on "Prime Suspect," more than any film in recent memory, Le Petit Lieutenant conveys the relentless toll of big-city police work.
  2. A quiet powerhouse of a film, an implacable, uncompromising French police drama, both old-fashioned and modern, that underlines the reasons impeccably made crime stories do so well on screen.
  3. Le Petit Lieutenant embraces the spectrum of human drama and comedy, and like a lot of French films it is keenly involved with the everyday pulse of work.
  4. Le Petit Lieutenant shows how good French movies can be when they stay French and don't try to go international.
  5. The drama's moments of cinematic power more than compensate for the slow-moving stretches that don't connect, and its characters will stay with viewers long after the lights go up.
  6. 67
    In the end, the film belongs to Baye, a veteran French actress who handles the part with toughness and vulnerability without overselling either facet of her character.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Keeps such a lazy pace, with so many scenes that fail to move the story forward, that it should be cited for failing to meet the minimum speed for a crime drama.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. GeorgeL.
    Jan 10, 2007
    A spare, beautifuly crafted film that takes the police genre to a deeper level while delivering on the action and suspense.
  2. MichaelW.
    Oct 20, 2006
    This is the best police film I've seen -- and I'm no youth. Nathalie Baye is brilliant. I find criticisms of superbly rendered films for their "slow pacing" to be juvenile...but to each his/her own. Expand
  3. KevinA
    Dec 27, 2006
    Wonderful realism - essentially the antithesis of the Lethal Weapon movies. Detectives are actually humans who have (most of the time) relatively dull jobs. This film led me into a world I was previously unfamiliar with, as other detective films always marked of non-realism. That's a great job of the film, no? Expand
  4. ChadS.
    May 10, 2007
    When Caroline(Nathalie Baye) asks Antoine(Jalil Lespert) why he became a cop, the young lieutenant cites the movies as an influence. "Le Petit Lieutenant" isn't "In the Heat of the Night", this crime-drama won't be luring any young impressionable kids to the force, not with its depictions of office work and tedious interviews with an uncolorful assortment of witnessess. As Antoine drives around Paris for the first time in a cop car, he simulates the high-speed chases of his movie-going days to get out of traffic. In doing so, he makes the audience aware that "Le Petit Lieutenant" is attempting something atypical of the police procedural genre; which is, that on most days, being a policeman can be a pretty unremarkable job. For most of its running time, the only time a gun gets fired is at a shooting range. "La Petit Lieutenant" deepens considerably when Caroline overtakes Antoine as the film's protagonist. We're unsure if she sees her subordinate as a surrogate son, or a potential lover. This enigma makes her face an interesting mask to study. Expand
  5. JayW.
    Oct 22, 2006
    A realistic police procedural done in semi-documentary style and with French verve. Wonderful ensemble cast. Could have used a heavier hand in the editing department. Expand
  6. robertxxx
    Oct 18, 2006
    Disappointing in view of the generally glowing's well made, but the script is so ultimately uninvolving that the whole film seems like a horrible waste of time for everyone involved. Expand
  7. Filmfan
    Nov 3, 2006
    This is not a bad film, but it is just totally unexceptional in every way. TV drama caliber.