“The Sons of Philadelphia”: Matthias Schoenaerts locks himself more and more into the roles of taciturn big arms

Peter (Matthias Schoenaerts) and Michael Flood (Joel Kinnaman) are cousins. They grew up together, after the tragic death of Peter’s sister, then his father. The first tries to stay in line, while the second is at the head of a small Irish mafia gang, eyeing construction sites owned by Italians. While one of theirs is found dead, Michael demands the help of his cousin in the war that looms in the streets of Philadelphia …

Ultra-classic polar

Adapted from a Pete Dexter fleece, Sons of Philadelphia is Jérémie Guez’s second feature film. Novelist, but also screenwriter – he notably worked on Yves Saint Laurent by Jalil Lespert and on Carnivores of the Renier brothers – the Frenchman delivers a little black thriller without the lineage of The Town by Ben Affleck in 2010. The action does not take place in Boston, but in Philadelphia. But we stay on the East Coast, immersing ourselves in the different communities that make up the identity of a great American city: Irish, Italians, Poles …

As often in this type of thriller, tragedy is never far away, fate striking its characters, prisoners of the legacy of violence. Sons of Philadelphia is indeed built on constant back and forth between present and past. Where we discover the misfortune that struck Peter when he was a child. But where we also understand that the increasingly strained relationship he lives with his cousin is reminiscent of that which united his father and his uncle.

We understood it, with Sons of Philadelphia, we stay in the purest classicism. Jérémie Guez signs an almost archetypal American thriller. We find there the dark atmospheres, places and broken faces that have always haunted Hollywood B series. But the Frenchman struggles to surprise, to impose his paw, to go beyond the clichés of the genre to give a little depth to the story.

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He can still count on a solid cast. In a taciturn role in which he excels (but in which Hollywood seems more and more locked him since Rundskpop), the Flemish Matthias Schoenaerts is flawless. In front of him, we find another beautiful dark, Joel Kinnaman. Discovered in the excellent series The Killing (2011-2014), the Swedish-American actor had been reviewed in RoboCop (2014) and House of Cards (2016). He embodies with real fragility the descent into hell of a mafia boss pouring into madness and taking everyone in his wake …

Sons of Philadelphia / The Sound of Philadelphia Polar Screenplay & production Jérémie Guez (based on the novel Brotherly Love by Pete Dexter) With Matthias Schoenaerts, Joel Kinnaman, Ryan Philippe… Duration 1h30

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