More so than with any other fest, Austin's Fantastic Fest seems to deliver films that come out of nowhere to win over your cinema loving heart.
Saturday morning, "Our Heroes Died Tonight" stole the hearts of many Fantastic Fest attendees inside the Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline. Making its first appearance since Critic's Week at Cannes, this post-World War II drama tells the story of Victor (Denis Menochet) and Simon (Jean-Pierre Martins). The former has just left the French Foreign Legion and needs a job. Seeking help with his friend Simon, Simon does as a friend would do and provides Victor with a job.
And what is Victor's new job you might ask?
Victor has become a professional wrestler. He is the new villain who goes by the name "The Belleville Butcher."
However, as brutal as that sounds, Victor's troubles don't end there. Victor is entering a tragic nightmare and taking Simon with him.
As beautiful as any examples of classic black & white film noir of decades past, "Our Heroes Died Tonight" fits right in with those classics in every sense. From its convincing performances, rich soundtrack to its picturesque cinematography, writer/director David Perrault's film dazzles.
All too often films directors try to imitate the timeless look and slow burn feel of classic film noir with poor results. However, Perrault's "Our Heroes Died Tonight" is no imitation. It's the real thing.
Both Victor and Simon are as captivating as can be with their multi-dimensional personalities. Each with their own tragic flaws, both win your heart as you root for them throughout their endeavors in the professional wrestling underworld. Victor and Simon don't feel like characters. They feel like human beings you can know and love.
What this film captures and instills within a couple hours will leave one in awe. Nearly every frame is pristine, every character major or minor memorable, every scene gripping and important.
This isn't just one of the finest films of the Fantastic Fest 2013 lineup. "Our Heroes Died Tonight" is one of the best films of the year. Period.
"Our Heroes Died Tonight" screens again at Fantastic Fest on Wed. Sep. 25 at 6:00p.m.