The Ardennes (D’Ardennen)

There’s nothing drastically wrong with this low-budget Belgian crime drama, but I just wasn’t in the mood for its gloominess (colour-drained cinematography = our film is serious and authentic and miserable and you should certainly not be expecting to enjoy yourself), or in the mood to forgive it for the use of numerous clichés. For example, the story revolves around two brothers, both petty criminals; one is trying to go straight, the other is a loose cannon, fresh out of prison and quickly drawn back into a life of crime; of course they’re both in love with the same woman (because all criminal siblings do this, apparently); and when something terrible occurs, they decide against approaching a calm, trustworthy, long-term associate for help, and instead go straight to the unhinged, ultra-violent, barely-familiar headcase who lives in a static caravan in the middle of nowhere and is clearly going to make a bad situation worse. Still, there are some nice touches here and there in terms of individual shots, it’s a debut feature by Robin Pront, and it’s not too bad if you can get over the predictable elements of the screenplay. (**½)