Venice Film Festival, Xavier Beauvois, Label Europa Cinemas
"Low-key Gallic cop pic ""The Young Lieutenant"" seems so determined to reproduce the drudgery of police work, it's boring for the first hour, and only marginally more exciting for the second. Inert, deliberately unaffecting direction by fourth-time helmer Xavier Beauvois (""To Matthieu,"" ""Don't Forget You're Going to Die"") squanders potentially interesting script research and an impressive cast, led by Nathalie Baye, playing against type as a cop, and Jalil Lespert in the title role...The strategy to underplay pays off in scenes that might otherwise have been hammy, like Vaudieu's fall from sobriety, which Baye pulls off with sorrowful dignity. However, over the long haul, it becomes hard to work up any sense of engagement with such benumbed characters...Lensing by d.p. Caroline Champetier, featuring smooth steadicam work by Jean-Baptiste Thibaud and Nicolas Dollander is congruent with the pic's general smooth, unobtrusive style."
"A gritty, quietly compelling amalgam of police procedural drama and character study, Le Petit Lieutenant (2005) is an understated triumph from actor/writer/director Xavier Beauvois...Sparely told, yet emotionally textured, Beauvois' fourth film favorably recalls the police films of Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Prince of the City) in its attention to detail and emphasis on character development. Although rising French star Jalil Lespert (Human Resources) plays the title character, the always welcome Nathalie Baye (Venus Beauty Institute) dominates Le Petit Lieutenant with her subtle, deeply felt turn as the title character's commander, a recovering alcoholic overseeing the Paris detective unit."