The Crimson Rivers is a french film by Director Mathieu Kasovitz and is an adaption of the popular novel 'Blood Red Rivers' by Jean-Christophe Grangé. While in recent years american studio's and the BBC have pretty much left the 'police-thriller' to TV, the french were (and still ARE) making terrific contributions on the big screen. The Crimson Rivers is an exciting police-procedural which had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end!
The Crimson Rivers follows Commissaire Principal Pierre Niemans (Jeno Reno) a famous Inspector from Paris who's been called in to a small University town in the Alps to help solve a mutilation killing. Several miles away a young, hot-headed, small-town detective Max Kerkerian (Vincent Cassel) investigates the desecration of the grave of local girl who died years before. Obviously both investigations eventually converge forcing both detectives to team up. The film's story ends up dealing with secret-societies, skin-heads, ritual-killings an wraps it up into a sometimes obvious but always thrilling suspense film. There's even some cop-buddy moments and fun action sequences. There are some moments of graphic violence (like the opening, and post-mordem mutilations, severed body-parts in jars) so those with weak-stomachs be warned.
While Jeno Reno and Vincent Cassel may be limited to playing bit-roles and villains in american and british cinema, in France they're super-stars and they carry this film with confidence and ease. The late Jean-Pierre Cassel (Vincent's father) has a memorable role as a local eye-doctor who helps the two detectives.
The direction and use of music give the film a chilling atmosphere and aside from the ending during an avalanche (which is exciting but seems to belong to another film) the movie never seems to hit a false note.
The Crimson Rivers is police thriller at it's very best. It may not make you forget Seven but it easily holds it's own and deserves the same recognition and audience!