2000's, Déborah François, Drama, Female Agents, Foreign Language Film, Jean-Paul Salomé, Julie Depardieu, Julien Boisselier, Marie Gillain, Maya Sansa, Moritz Bleibtreu, SOE, Sophie Marceau, Thriller, World War II
- Sophie Marceau as Louise Desfontaines
- Julie Depardieu as Jeanne Faussier
- Marie Gillain as Suzy Desprez
- Déborah François as Gaëlle Lemenech
- Moritz Bleibtreu as Karl Heindrich
- Maya Sansa as Maria Luzzato
- Julien Boisselier as Pierre Desfontaines
Inspired by true events, Female Agents tells of five women’s attempts to stop secrets being leaked to the Nazi’s during World War II regarding the Normandy Landing. Thrilling, compelling and excellently acted, it is a tribute to brave women during the war and the dangerous tasks taken to ensure the safety of millions.
The year is 1944. Louise Desfontaines is a member of the French Resistance who flees to London after her husband is killed. She is then recruited by SOE( Special Operations Executive), an organisation created by Churchill to conduct spying and dangerous missions in occupied Europe. Louise is tasked with the rescue of a British geologist who has been captured by the Germans and holds valuable information regarding the Invasion of Normandy. She is told to form a group of women to aid her in the dangerous mission along with her brother Pierre. The women are chosen for specific qualities and reasons. They are Suzy, a seductive cabaret dancer who was formally engaged to a Nazi colonel, Gaëlle, a devoutly religious girl who is skilled with explosives, Jeanne, a hard-edged prostitute adept with weapons and Maria, a Jewish woman looking for revenge after her family was taken to a concentration camp. They arrive in France and quickly go about rescuing the man from enemy clutches in a French hospital. The women seem to have succeeded until they are accidentally revealed to a prominent colonel in the SS, Karl Heindrich who happens to be Suzy’s former lover. From then on it a race against time to not only save the geologist but also their lives and carefully planning to kill the colonel. Prepare to be enthralled by the dangerous mission undertaken and the lengths the women go to in order to survive and see it through.
The first thing that catches the eye is the believability of the settings and costumes, that really take you into the heart of war-time intrigue. Music plays a key part in the film and the score adds a poignant and epic sweep as the narrative unravels at a break neck speed. Credit must go to the screenplay for presenting a war movie from a female perspective, carefully showing us the dangers these women undertook to make sure of successful missions that could cost them their lives. Although the film goes at a fast, driving speed, the film still makes time for us to engage with the five women and watch as they risk their lives for their cause. The film although packed with adventure does not shy away from the brutalities of war and intrigue, clearly shown when members of the group are tortured for information by having their heads dunked underwater and hit repeatedly. Above all, it is the acting, mainly from the quintet of women that keeps the story running smoothly. Heading the cast is Sophie Marceau as Louise, she carefully embodies the stoic responsibility as leader of the group but we sense a pain underneath her outwardly cold facade. Julie Depardieu creates a convincing character in Jeanne, the prostitute unafraid of staring death in the face. Marie Gillain exudes glamour and poignancy as Suzy, who is initially reluctant about the mission because she knows it will bring her back into contact with her former lover. Déborah François is luminous as the bomb expert who still clings to religion to get her through the dangerous mission. And Maya Sansa emits a quiet rage as the vengeful Maria, who by her own admission will relish the chance to kill those who murdered her family. Out of the males in the cast, Moritz Bleibtreu is the most convincing, excellently capturing the outward charisma of his SS colonel character but then showing the brutal violence that lurks beneath it.
If it’s a World War II thriller with a difference and a definite and loving recreation of time, then Female Agents is the advisable film for you. The luminous female cast alone is reason to see this inventive thriller inspired by true events.