Racer and the Jailbird (originally Le Fidèle) is a French film that follows a racer and a gangster that fall in love. It's honestly just a horrible film and one that was particularly uncomfortable to sit through. Things start out fast as the two immediately click once they meet at a race track. Bibi (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is a high speeding racer whereas Gigi (Matthias Schoenaerts) hides that he's a gangster using car exporter as his current occupation. For whatever reason their love is instant and while it's not really shown until far later, the starting blocks really weren't well built.
The latter portions felt almost fake as I couldn't understand the motivations for either of them. It's also a rather lengthy movie not only in actual runtime, but the pacing which makes it seem like an eternity. I had considered leaving halfway through, but thought it would pick up and towards the end I just toughed through it. There was a certain point where everything went from being possibly interesting to purely meandering. There wasn't a focus, or well perhaps that eventual goal was just clouded by being overstretched.
The core concept of the film definitely felt stretched out to the max while adding random events in the later portions of the movie that didn't add any value. It became rather sappy which is fine, but that's another problem in the sense that it wasn't sure what themes it was trying to convey. At one point it had elements of being a heist adventure with a side love plot and then it was maybe a break out of jail type thing. If it was supposed to be just a love film, it should have made more of an effort in giving us a reason to initially care for the two's connection. It just kept going with different aspects that loosely came together across a boring set of adventures. I never felt like the two should have really felt like they did to one another and that didn't help make the ending very impactful. There weren't any scenes that stood out visually to me, but the sense of gritty realism presented in small doses showcased some promise.
Racer and the Jailbird was a long, overly stretched out concept that kept throwing in new elements that didn't add anything of value. The pacing suffered greatly because of this and the whole journey felt like a meandering mess. There were some realistic aspects that felt great, but those were lost in the extended shuffle that was the runtime. The two leads were great in this with Adèle Exarchopoulos being particularly charming. I feel as though there's an average film sitting somewhere here though with horrible pacing among other issues it was a dreadful and boring time. Also, if you're looking for some heists, you will find only a couple minutes of them here.
Racer and the Jailbird Review at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by Calgary Film