The World is Yours feels like a hit almost as soon as you press play.
Synopsis: To escape his life of crime, a small-time mobster in Paris accepts one last job involving Spain, drugs, the Illuminati and his overbearing mother. (Netflix)
Starring: Oulaya Amamra, Karim Leklou, and Isabelle Adjani
Writers: Karim Boukercha, Noé Debré, and Romain Gavras
Director: Romain Gavras
Running Time: 94mins
Directors’ Fortnight has always been the underachieving little brother of Cannes Film Festival, but every once and awhile, the little brother will churn up something grander, bigger, and more exciting then you’d expect from him. Strangely as of late, he’s been overachieving, and his older brother has been faltering. Senior year is really killing Cannes, so Directors’ Fortnight has been premiering some of the most interesting releases of this year. 2018’s selection even included two of my favorites of the year (Mandy and Leave No Trace). A fair amount of the films in 2018’s Directors’ Fortnight selection still faltered, but The World is Yours came sprinting out with rave reviews, and got picked up by Netflix.
A French heist film that succeeds due to its oddities, The World is Yours deserves those reviews, as it creates an odd and rewarding world. From the first shot, the film moves like a machine, finding time to indulge in the strange situations, but leaving thrills to be found among the weird characters. The film is well-casted, and well-rounded when it comes to these characters, but a few rise above. In particular, Amamra’s portrayal of Lamya is one of the best of the year. She has a certain presence about her. Her performance was so commanding, that she becomes the focus of any scene. The performance enriches a character that could of have easily been incredibly one-sided and boring.
The visual look of The World is Yours is quite interesting. It’s not quite deserving, at least visually, of the comparisons to films like Spring Breakers, or other technicolor wonderlands, but there’s a certain exciting sheen to it (I.e the usage of blue, which is particularly stunning). There’s a certain bombast to the shots, a constant movement lights up even the most expository scenes, along with a beautiful use of overheads that feel huge, similar to the way Jon M. Chu made Crazy Rich Asians feel huge through a command of visual language.
Music lights up the film, as different cues keep scenes moving. The pacing in this is simply incredible, as an hour and a half fly by. One of the best scenes of the year happens to take place in this film where Oulaya Amamra performs karaoke. The transition from the karaoke scene into the next is one of the best moments in film all year. There’s just something about the chorus of Toto’s Africa that makes it even more powerful.
Rare as they are, there are moments where The World is Yours falters. Occasionally performances feel a little too big (particularly Isabelle Adjani, who feels strange and inhuman as Danny), and certain characters feel less believable due to that. Besides a few flaws, The World is Yours ends up being incredibly entertaining. Different quirks and moments make this heist him feel unique, but the pacing and visual power is what really grounds it. It all feels comforting in a perfect final scene. The repeated motif of pools makes one final appearance, and our lead character finally feels free.
The World is Yours still feels like a hit only moments into the film. You can tell from Leklou’s Farès’s eyes and expressions that every character feels real and deeply genuine. The visuals are huge, creating a beautiful look that sustains throughout the entire film. It’s the kind of movie that’d crush in theaters due to the thrills, but hey, at least it has American distribution, thanks to Netflix. See it as soon as you can on the biggest screen possible.
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