"The Crimson Rivers" feels like "Seven" if it were stripped of the rainy city and placed in the french alps. It brings two cops on the trail of a killer, but is more weird and oddly told than your usual Serial killer film. Even in David Fincher's books."The Crimson Rivers'" interesting story involves Commissoner Pierre Niémans (Jean Reno), who is assigned to track a killer in a small town in the French Alps. Miles away, Max Kerkérian (Vincent Cassel) is investigating a young girl's grave that was ransacked by Neo-Nazi's. Their searches bring them to each other, which have the same goal, and are soon drawn into finding out who the killer is.
There is enough atmosphere and great cinematography in "The Crimson Rivers" for over two movies. The cinematography, editing and transitions are very well done, as are the visuals; the mountain photography was all done for real, unlike a movie like "Vertical Limit" (2000) with its fake snow and rubbery walls. A scene where Pierre is looking for clues inside an iceberg looks and feels real, it may not be, but is quite a unique sight.
It also helps that Jean Reno, a capable French actor who has had work stateside with "Leon" and "Ronin," is good here as a moody, troubled cop. Vincent Cassel makes a good match as his live-wired partner; with his sense of humour and rugged good looks, he would certainly cross over into American films nicely. There's a fight scene involving Cassel about half-way into the film that is absolutely insane, but works with his timing.The film falters somewhat during the last half hour of the film, where a sudden turn of events throws the film off course into an implausible one. The revelation isn't a satisfying one, nor the end of the film, which leaves so much to wonder about the fine atmosphere and story that fueled everything up to it. For a movie wanting to strive from the genre, this one works for the most part and has atmosphere and mood to spare, even if has the ending impact of a Soap Opera. Even with that avalanche.