Beau Waycott reviews The World is Yours, showing in our cinema until Thursday.
Romain Gavras’ rapid and spunky The World is Yours combines a colourful, comical plot with a pastiche of modern Europe to create an antithesis to the growing individualism found on the Continent and in the UK.
Farès (Karim Leklou), a nondescript small-time dealer, is looking to get on the right side of the law by buying the Moroccan franchise for Mr Freeze ice lollies. Finding that his prima donna mother Danny (Isabelle Adjani) has gambled away the money they’d saved to secure the deal, Farès responds in the only way he knows how: choosing to go big, he agrees to lead a Benidorm drugs run for Putin, the suburb’s new drug lord, in a final bid to land the franchise and buy the home of his dreams: three beds with a three-by-two pool.
Putin instructs Farès to take Mohamed and Mohamed, two second-generation immigrant pushers who seem as drawn to the blood and bullets of minor drug deals than the promised financial rewards, along with him to Benidorm. Also tagging along is Lamya (played by rising French star 22 year-old Oulaya Amamra), one of Danny’s young protégé shoplifters and the slow-witted but well-meaning Henri (La Haine’s Vincent Cassel). What follows is an onslaught of dumb-witted capers and out of control chaoses -narco-terrorism, a kidnapping, drunken karaoke sessions and a coup de grâce featuring an overspilling waterpark, a failed ransom and a full-body burkini- that Gavras is able to tie together in a warm and humorous conclusion.
Throughout, Gavras provides plenty of stimulus with which to examine a polarised and fracturing Europe. In a particularly rapid and satisfying scene, blind racism becomes the downfall of two unwitting drug mules, who assume the two Mohameds are African migrants trying to land in Spain as opposed to their future killers. Britain does not, however, escape this examination: in Benidorm -where else?-, Brits are characterised as feckless, perpetually drunken and uncaring, climaxing in another hilarious scene where Mohamed and Mohamed wantonly attack some loutish British holiday makers. Constant near-misses from absolute peril draw dangerously accurate comparisons with Brexit Britain.
Overall, Le Monde est à toi is a comical and intricate work that secures Romain Gavras’ place in modern French cinema. Moving away from music videos, The World is Yours is only his second feature film after 2010’s Our Day Will Come, and Francophone film lovers can certainly expect more expert works from him. Also projected further into fame is young Oulaya Amamra, best known for her role as Dounia in Divines, which won her the 2017 César Award for Most Promising Actress, and there is hope she will work again with Gavras, much like Karim Leklou who originally starred in Our Day Will Come. In this light yet deep subverted bildungsroman, the cast defy the leitmotif of Daniel Balavoine’s La vie ne m’apprend rien: life really does teach them something.