FILM REVIEW: RACER AND THE JAILBIRD
RACER AND THE JAILBIRD is the story of a calculated criminal named Gino (Gigi for short), and his passionate connection with girlfriend and professional race car driver, BiBi. Gino is trying to navigate his persistent internal battle of being the bad ass gangster that he’s always been, and transitioning into the trusting and honest partner he wants to be. BiBi is soft, pure, prestigious and completely against everything Gino eventually reveals about his past and present actions. It seems impossible for him to stay under the radar for the sake of his romantic relationship. Through his lies and expertise in the art of deception he is able to make her fall desperately in love with him. The drama really kicks off when she starts to truly understand and reflect on Gino’s chosen profession.
The dedication and chemistry between these two is undeniable. That being said, throughout the whole movie I was wondering why BiBi would even give Gino the time of day? She has everything going for her! A successful career, a supportive family and looks that kill. Perhaps its Gino’s sexy, Liam Neeson-esque, certified killer vibe that captivates BiBi so completely. Bad boys like him have some serious sex appeal, if you can get past the casual bank robberies and murders they have committed. Ha!
So now let’s tackle the pros and cons of RACER AND THE JAILBIRD, starting with the bad news first. The narrative was a tad overwritten and the film takes some very intense turns. It was a bit unnecessary. A lot was going on and I think it would have translated (figuratively and literally as this is a French film with English subtitles) a little better without so many off the wall situations happening simultaneously. This lack of focus is probably one of the reasons that despite a fantastic performance, the viewer never really buys into Gino’s backstory of a rough childhood that currently is manifesting into crippling, yet ever evolving fear. We are dealing with a certified criminal capable of pulling off high stake heists, yet were supposed to believe he’s scared of the same things a child would be fearing? It just seemed a little disconnected and underdeveloped given Gino’s whole personality and character.
Now for the good news! One aspect I especially loved was Gino and BiBi’s sexually charged romance. This made the film a little more bearable for me. The acting from the two main characters Matthias Schoenaerts (Gino) and Adele Exarchopoulos (BiBi) was a major high point of the film. The dialogue is all in French and I thought that would hinder my connection with the characters but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t. You could feel the passion between these two without reading the subtitles. It was the way they would look at each other, the body language and the frustration in their souls that really made the dynamic between the two really work. Being able to tell a story without the assistance of dialogue is the signature of great acting and that was the real takeaway of the film.
Besides the overwritten story line and disconnected aspects of Gino’s character, I enjoyed the film for the most part. The love/romance was captivating and the adrenaline rush this film gives off while showcasing the couples different careers can entertain any one.
RACER AND THE JAILBIRD is out now in select theatres. Also keep your eyes peeled for the film on VOD and streaming platforms!
“RACER AND THE JAILBIRD is a sexually charged romance with killer performances”