The Clearstream Affair


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Clearstream Affair
"Who does what and how they fit into the scheme of things requires a refresher course"

Based on actual events during Nicolas Sarkozy's ascendancy in France, Vincent Garenq's film slips easily into the thriller genre, and yet not quite, being more of an investigation into malpractice and corruption.

The hero-of-sorts is freelance journalist, Denis Robert (Gilles Lelouche), who sniffs out a financial scandal of scoop-de-horror proportions, involving money laundering, kickbacks after the sale of a warship to Taiwan and massive accounting frauds centred around the Luxembourg bank, Clearsteam. Even Sarkozy's name, or rather a pseudonym purporting to be his, breaches the surface of suspicion.

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The intrigue involves CEOs, government ministers, heads of departments and the top dogs of European finance. Of course, anyone who isn't Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein knows that if you dig too deep too high you will fall a long way onto dead ground.

The problems come in triplicate.

1. The world of international banking has its own language and its own dialect. If you are not versed in these you become disorientated.

2. The cast of prominent people is confusing. Who does what and how they fit into the scheme of things requires a refresher course.

3. Lelouche conveys Robert's single-minded approach well enough but the film is artless.

If there is a warning note, beyond power messing with your head, it is this: don't go into journalism. Facts can be manipulated, truth twisted and sources compromised. Who do you trust? The judiciary? The police? The politicians? The whistle blower?

Better to stay at home and support the mother of your children.

Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2015
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The Clearstream Affair packshot
Finance thriller, based on the real exploits of Denis Robert – an investigative journalist who spent years tracking the illicit activities of the Luxembourg-based Clearstream bank.

Director: Vincent Garenq

Writer: Vincent Garenq, Stéphane Cabel, based on the book by Denis Robert, Yan Lindingre and Laurent Astier

Starring: Gilles Lellouche, Charles Berling, Laurent Capelluto, Florence Loiret Caille, Christian Kmiotek, Grégoire Bonnet, Antoine Gouy, Eric Naggar, Gilles Arbona, Hervé Falloux, Laurent D'Olce, Thomas Séraphine, Jean-Pol Brissart, Marie-Christine Orry, Marc Olinger

Year: 2014

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France, Luxembourg, Belgium


French 2015

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