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Bastille Day review: Art echoes life in this terror tale

By Damon Smith

Expert pickpocket Michael Mason (Richard Madden) steals passports, accessories and smartphones at tourist hot-spots like the Sacre-Coeur at Montmartre to fulfil orders for middleman Baba (Eriq Ebouaney).

During a scouting mission, Michael spies a young activist, Zoe Naville (Charlotte Le Bon), in a state of distress. She isn't paying attention to her shopping bag, so Michael expertly swipes it when her back is turned.

He takes the valuables and casually discards the bag, unaware that a bomb is buried inside. The device detonates, killing innocent bystanders, and Michael is unwittingly condemned a terrorist by CCTV footage. Rogue US operative Sean Briar (Idris Elba), who is assigned to the CIA station in Paris under Karen Dacre (Kelly Reilly), vows to apprehend Michael before an elite French SWAT team led by Rafi (Thierry Godard).

A game of cat and mouse between Briar, Michael and Rafi plays out around the arrondissements. Meanwhile, the real bombers plan their next move, creating a public relations nightmare for the embattled French Minister of Homeland Security, Victor Gamieux (Jose Garcia).

Three stars

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