The Ardennes

The Ardennes


The Ardennes.  Rating:  3 (out of 5).  A brutal crime committed by two brothers goes horribly wrong, and one of them lands in jail. After four years, his brother tries to help him get his life back on track. Catch the film on VOD starting Tuesday, March 7. Variety thinks, “The climax quickens the film’s pulse but doesn’t exactly grow organically from what’s proceeded it.”

Starring: Eric Godon, Jan Bijvoet, Jeroen Perceval, Kevin Janssens, Peter Van den Begin, Rachid El Ghazaoui, Sam Louwyck, Veerle Baetens, Viviane de Muynck
Director: Robin Pront
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama



The Hollywood Reporter calls the film “A slow-build crime film focused on sibling dynamics.”

According to Los Angeles Times, “The Ardennes is an odd mixture of glum-chic style and emotional curiosity, a story of brotherly tensions that primarily comes off like a movie posing as a story of brotherly tensions.”

The New York Times finds, “Even though, in retrospect, The Ardennes feels a little obvious and secondhand, it unfolds with enough speed and wit to hold your attention.”

Variety thinks, “The climax quickens the film’s pulse but doesn’t exactly grow organically from what’s proceeded it.”

Chicago Reader observes, “Robin Pront directed a script that he and Perceval adapted from the latter’s play; amid the plot twists lies a tricky conundrum about the relative culpability of miscreants and their enablers.”

The New Yorker says, “Dave’s dread of his brother hooks The Ardennes onto a long chain of fraternal crime dramas, from “The Public Enemy” (1931) and “On the Waterfront” (1954) to “We Own the Night” (2007). Pront can hardly be blamed if his actors lack the sinew of Cagney or Brando.”

NPR notes, “Much of the action is grimly predictable and clearly derivative. It replays bits of Pulp Fiction in a Miller’s Crossing setting.”

Village Voice observes, “In the end, for all the artistry on display, The Ardennes is more admirable than inspiring. It has style, and even suspense, but relatively little imagination.”

San Diego Reader writes, “Robrecht Heyvaert’s brooding nighttime cinematography is the film’s one saving grace.”

SF Weekly thinks, “Ultimately, The Ardennes opts for a brutal and psychologically easy ending that erases what might have been a more nuanced and recognizably human resolution.”

The Guardian gives the movie 2 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “This tale of familial crime and punishment starts promisingly, but lurches off in various unconvincing directions and badly loses its way.”

The Observer finds, “This is storytelling as lean and unpredictable as a fighting dog; it’s one of the strongest first features I have seen this year.”

Brooklyn Magazine observes, “Despite such flashes of promise, The Ardennes can’t overcome what feels like a flawed conception—it is, in essence, a plodding domestic soap trying to pass itself off as an adrenalized neo-noir.”

CineVue finds, “This is a punchy and promising debut from Pront.”

Empire Online gives the film 3 out of 5 stars, and further writes, “Don’t expect the Dardennes, and The Ardennes won’t disappoint.” says, “The movie, directed by Robin Pront from a script by Pront and Jeroen Perceval (who’s also one of the film’s lead actors), is well-crafted up to a point. But the end to which it is crafted is utterly useless.”

Slant Magazine thinks, “It predictably lurches toward acts of extreme violence with little interest other than the instant titillation such moments afford.”

We Got This Covered gives the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “Once Robin Pront’s The Ardennes plows through necessary backstory, it becomes a chilling Belgian thriller worth one gut-punch of an ending.”

Total Film observes, “Shooting in dull, wintry colours, the mood is set for a story that can only end badly.”

A.V. Club gives the movie a C+ rating, and further writes, “First-time director Robin Pront serves up plenty of brooding atmosphere, but the screenplay, adapted from a stage play by Pront and Jeroen Perceval (who also plays the sensible Harvey Keitel role), never succeeds in eluding genre cliché.”

The Young Folks says, “As I said, The Ardennes doesn’t really do anything ground-breaking or new. But it did what it did so well that I can’t help recommending it.”

Paste Magazine finds, “In the end, The Ardennes leaves us with little more than an un-edifying wallow in ugliness, illuminating little about family relations or the kind of masculinity in which it spends so much time entrenched.”

HeyUGuys gives the film 3 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “The Ardennes may reward patient viewers, but for those seeking a quick-fix thrill need not apply. Robin Pront does show promise in this Belgian thriller, even if that promise arrives a little later than one would hope for.”

Reelfilm writes, “It is, as a result, not surprising to note that Pront’s efforts at cultivating tension fall hopelessly flat, while the action-packed (and surprisingly grim) finale is simply unable to pack the visceral punch that Pront is surely aiming for – which, in the end, makes it impossible to deny that there’s just not enough here to warrant a feature-length running time.”


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