This movie is as good if not better than most big budget hollywood suspense/murdery mystery type movies, but instead of Nicholas Cage you've got Jean Reno! That's a step in the right direction if you ask me.The Crimson Rivers (Les Rivières pourpres) is another suspense movie wherein Jean Reno (The Professional, Ronin) and Vincent Cassel (Hate, Brotherhood of the Wolf) are both detectives investigating two seperate cases that end up being suspiciously intertwined! The story is set in a French town based around a college that is exclusive to the extremely intelligent and physically fit. As Jean's character (Pierre Niemans) tracks down a serial killer, Max Kerkerian investigates the vandalization of the grade of a young girl. Long story short, they meet up and work together on a whodunnit mystery that comes to such a ludicrous resolution that makes the rest of it almost not worth watching.
Here's the catch though, this movie is really well shot with plenty of beautiful french mountains. If you're a sucker for nice landscapes then go ahead and rent it. There's lots of snowy glacier action, but don't worry, this movie isn't "Cliffhanger"
The highlight of the action has got to be a chase scene featuring Reno's BMW 5 series against a big black hummer (which is actually a chevy suburban with a hummer shell, but you can't tell.) The french may not be known for blockbuster action sequences but it would appear they can do it as well as anyone, given the proper budget.
The acting is decent, the cinematography is great, the suspense is... suspenseful. So that leaves the plot, right? Well its actually not a bad setup with the dual investigations meeting up, throw in a beat-em-up brawl with neo-nazis, a run-after-the-killer-but-escapes-by-the-skin-of-their-teeth sequence and a mediocre fall-in-love-with-a-suspect bit. Maybe its all cliche, but it works for the purposes of this movie. All except the ending. Its just thrown in there, and when it hits you (assuming you can follow everything along until that point,) you just want to pause the movie and see if you can think up your own ending. However, if you have a decent home theatre, the surround sound and dvd tranfser really do make it worth watching. Jean Reno appears to do his own translation for the English dub, but you're still better off with the subtitles.Its not the greatest suspense serial murder movie in the world, but you've already seen the others a million times right? So rent the DVD, turn the subtitles and 5.1 french track on, and enjoy.