“Accomplices” (Complices), the debut thriller by Swiss shorts director Frédéric Mermoud, is a cannily constructed thriller that jumps across time, from the first meeting of Vincent (Cyril Descours) and Rebecca (Nina Meurisse), who have both just turned 18, to the investigation by two police inspectors (Gilbert Melki, Emmanuelle Devos) after Vincent’s body is found in the River Rhône and Rebecca’s disappearance soon after. Reconstructing the events, an increasingly complex story of the young couple’s happy-go-lucky involvement in prostitution captivates the investigators as they make their rounds of acquaintances. While stylishly directed, “Accomplices” is a very French film, far from “CSI: Paris”: details of character and behavior accrue in gratifying turns and actors are cast for innate charm rather than Hollywood looks. It’s poppy and contemporary without turning trashy. Devos, a mainstay of movies by Arnaud Desplechin (“A Christmas Tale,” “Kings and Queen”), is, as always, a fine feral presence, brimming with attention and the suggestion of intelligence. I’d say the same about Mermoud: “Accomplices” is a work by an already-accomplished narrative detective. 93m. U.S. theatrical premiere. (Ray Pride)
“Accomplices” opens Friday at Facets. A trailer is embedded below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming; previews on Twitter (twitter.com/chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram: instagram.com/raypride. Twitter: twitter.com/rayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)