Sons of Philadelphia – Jérémie Guez

Résumé : Philadelphia. Thirty years ago, Michael’s family took in Peter after his father’s death, under opaque circumstances. Today, Peter and Michael are two little thugs with opposite temperaments. One is as violent and exuberant as the other is taciturn. When Michael is designated as “embarrassing” by the Italian Mafia “, the family’s troubled past resurfaces …

Critique : “You don’t choose your family”, as the other sings. Above all, we do not choose to lose our very young sister in a lamentable car accident, to be born into a family of Irish mafia, which shares the corruption market in Philadelphia with an Italian mafia group, and to grow up in constant threat. of death. Peter, presented as a temperate, calm and intelligent being, contrasts with his cousin, Michael, who is tempestuous and impulsive. In fact, Sons of Philadelphia is not yet another opus on the ravages of the mafia in the United States. It is above all the strong and sensitive story of two cousins ​​that everything opposes, in a climate that is akin to a terrifying war. Mistrust, fear, manipulation haunt this urban and family universe where, ultimately, the most difficult is not to take power over an entire city, but to survive its destiny.

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Copyright Nelson Gedalof

Joel Kinnaman and Matthias Schoenaerts reign supreme in this dark and anxiety-provoking universe. The director inserts returns on Peter’s past which, little by little, help to understand the hold that a family can impose on people, from the beginning of their existence. The strength of the character remains his ability to take a step back, to think, where that of his cousin lies in the use he makes of weapons and the unpredictability of his behavior. The two men are linked to each other in a thwarted relationship, from which they try in vain to permanently emancipate themselves. Of course, one can imagine that the Italian Mafiosi are advancing pawns on the table of corruption and trafficking, capitalizing on the relational vulnerability of the two men.

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Copyright Nelson Gedalof

The staging chooses dark sets, closed spaces where the protagonists seem locked up. The dependence on the places where the characters flourish is expressed in the darkness of the spaces, the recourse to the night and the absence of wide shots putting the city of Philadelphia in perspective. Sons of Philadelphia describes in detail what could be seen as an addiction, which some people have with where they grew up. The feature film forcefully tells the story of the impossibility of extricating oneself from one’s neighborhood, one’s roots, and the determinisms in which one locks oneself in spite of oneself. Money, drugs, admiration for a boss are all traps that prevent many young people from escaping their origins. We finally wonder Jérémie Guez does not offer a film that has a direct link with the news of the suburbs where we witness, powerless, battles between groups of teenagers whose affiliation to a portion of a neighborhood, to a HLM tower, is enough to justify the violence.

Without question, the director asserts himself through his film as an immense director. He manages to bring out in the silences, in the obscurity of gazes, the universal story of all those who never manage to save themselves from their family determinism. In this sense, Sons of Philadelphia is a wonderful opportunity for reflection, but also an invitation to have an excellent thriller moment.