Érick Zonca, best known for his acclaimed debut feature The Dreamlife of Angels, hadn’t directed a film since Julia – inspired by Cassavetes’ Gloria. Black Tide, therefore, was bound to pique interests as this was his first film in a decade; and a noir aficionado like me, with an unsavoury penchant for dark and twisted thrillers, was bound to be intrigued irrespective of the above, given the film’s delicious premise. The tale revolves around the disappearance of a 16-year old boy for apparently no discernible reasons and with no available clues to his possible whereabouts; hence, when the distraught mother Solange (Sandrine Kiberlain) seeks the help of the incorrigible, alcoholic and self-destructive, but veteran and undeniably competent police detective François Visconti (Vincent Cassel), the latter is compelled to create potential conjectures on a blank slate; the fact that the divorced cop, who resides alone in a cluttered apartment, has a torrid relationship with his troubled son, provides an additional impetus for the relentless vigour with which he gets entangled into the case. Along the way, while downing alcohol at every given opportunity, he encounters a literature teacher (Romain Duris) – a slimy, warped man with potentially devious intentions who lives in the same apartment block as the missing boy and had a rather suspicious fascination with him; he gets disturbingly attracted to the mother; he earns severe displeasure of his boss and his colleagues; and yes, he ends up uncovering some truly sordid secrets about the seemingly bourgeois family. While the film felt overdone and messy at times, it was also taut, engaging (with a few red herrings thrown in), and a string of excellent performances led by the brilliant, implosive and campy Cassel.
Director: Erick Zonca
Genre: Thriller/Crime Thriller/Murder Mystery/Post-Noir