The Truk


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

"Where most films of this ilk are driven by aggression, Marx instead pushes hers forward with a mix of melancholy, quiet desperation and futility." | Photo: Sarah Marx

It's the plot that launched a thousand gangster films - kid gets out of jail, struggles to go straight. But Sarah Marx's film - co-scripted by Hamé Bourokba and Ekoué Labitey - doesn't see it like that, focusing not on crime itself but on the pressure points that cause it to exist in the first place and, in the process, bringing an unexpected poignancy and humanism to the tale.

Sandor Funtek is well cast as Ulysse, still fresh-faced at the end of a stint in jail and with a trace of wideboy swagger, he is already worried about money. He needs to get rich quick, not through a sense of greed, but because his mother (Sandrine Bonnaire) has chronic depression and needs care that he cannot afford. While he's been inside, an ex-girlfriend has been looking after her - just one of many elements of the film that anchor it firmly in the real world. Ulysse's inability to fully cope with what's happening to his mother is just as raw as her inability to fully cope with the world, but Marx handles this well, showing how the illness hangs over their lives without wallowing in it.

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Ulysse hatches a plan with his old pal David (Alexis Manenti), to hire a food van - the film's French title L'enkas is what they name it - and use a farmer as an intermediary to a vet with Ket. None of these people are hardened criminals - instead what they have in common is being economically crushed by the little things in life, like bills and alimony. There's no thrill or adrenaline rush to the crimes, just a sense of each character gritting their teeth and getting on with it, all the while trying to weight the transaction in their favour.

When the men go to sell their Ketamine-laced 'Special K' at a rave, Marx finds tension, not in the usual sudden outbreaks of violence that tend to pepper this sort of film, but simply in the impending sense of doom surrounding the whole venture. While there's always a chance the pair will get away with it, we see how terrible their odds are from the start. Where most films of this ilk are driven by aggression, Marx instead pushes hers forward with a mix of melancholy, quiet desperation and futility.

The action has a loose feel but it's also carefully balanced, so that we are offered a window into the world of each of the characters, none forgotten, as Marx asks us to consider what it means to be imprisoned, not by wire or walls, but by what life can throw at us.

Reviewed on: 31 Aug 2018
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An ex-con makes a plan with his friend to travel from rave to rave selling water and Ketamine from their food truck.

Director: Sarah Marx

Writer: Hamé Bourokba, Ekoué Labitey, Sarah Marx

Starring: Sandor Funtek, Sandrine Bonnaire, Alexis Manenti, Lauréna Thellier, Virginie Acariès

Year: 2018

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: France, Ukraine

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