Lost Bullet (Balle Perdue): Review
Netflix has manufactured an impressive assembly line of content, churning out a melody of original material on a weekly basis. Considering their vast library, the platform’s unheralded international films rarely get the attention they deserve, with projects like Atlantics and The Platform ranking among Netflix’s most accomplished endeavors. While the same can’t be said for their latest international project Lost Bullet (or Balle Perdue), this French-made actioner still packs a jolt of kinetic thrills despite its straight-forward approach.
Lost Bullet follows Lino (Alban Lenoir), a skilled driver serving time for a heist gone wrong. After task force leader Charas (Ramzy Bedia) decides to utilize Lino’s mechanical know-how for his team, Charas is murdered, with a pair of dirty cops framing the crimes on Lino’s hands. Lino finds himself on the run trying to prove his innocence.
Throttled forward with a lean-and-mean pace, director Guillaume Pierret constructs an assured debut working inside the low-rent actioner framework. Ordinary action beats are elevated by Pierret’s creative mindset, with the director implementing audacious, crowd-pleasing stunt work with reckless abandon. Whether Lino’s driving a burning car or fighting off a foe with shotgun swordplay, Pierret’s slick handheld camerawork frenetically highlights each hard-hitting frame, while Andre Duziezuk’s pulsating, synth-inspired score further accents each set piece.
Instead of cheekily wearing genre influences on its sleeve (a cross between the machismo freneticism of Fast and Furious with the small-scale realism of Drive), Lost Bullet sincerely executes its familiar narrative trappings. Pierret’s script clearly understands the genre it’s operating in, self-awarely building a narrative that keeps the action moving while sprinkling in some welcomed plot change-ups. Star Alban Lenoir helps in elevating his archetype actioner role, while Nicolas Duvachelle makes for a delightful mustache-twirling villain as a double-crossing cop.
While I admire the film’s comfortably simplistic design, it does severely limit Lost Bullet’s ceiling. Pierret’s script feels like it’s missing a first act, stalling in its attempts to develop intriguing character dynamics. It all seems fairly barebones, which would be more forgivable if the film didn’t lean into deeper dramatic aspirations (the death of Charas is suppose to have a lingering effect on Lindo, an arc that’s largely brushed over until the closing frames).
It may not reinvent the standard action formula, but Lost Bullet’s relentless pursuit of genre thrills offers a satisfactory low-rent diversion.
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