(director/writer: Jerome Salle; screenwriter: Caryl Ferey; cinematographers: Sacha Wiernik/Matias Boucard; editor: Stan Collet; music: Guillaume Roussel; cast: Gilles Lellouche (Mathieu Roussel),  Joanna Kulig (Svetlana), Mikhail Gorevoy (Rostov), Aleksey Gorbunov (Borodin), Igor Jijikine (Sagarine), Elisa Lasowski (Alice Roussel), Olivia Malahieude (Rose Roussel); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jerome Salle/Albane De Jourdan/Marc Simoncini; Magnolia ReleaseFrance 2 Cinema/Canal +; 2022-France-in French with English subtitles)

“A gripping thriller, that’s taut and tense.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The title refers to manufactured evidence.

The French action director-writer Jerome Salle (“The Odyssey”/”Zulu”) directs a fictionalized thriller loosely based on a real-life ordeal that happened to a Frenchman living in Russia. Salle co-writes it with Caryl Ferey. It reminds one of many horror stories of Russia unfairly holding framed hostages from the West (just think of recent events).

The film was shot in Lithuania.

The soft artistic Frenchman Mathieu (Gilles Lellouche) is the director of the Alliance Française, who works in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. After he allows a homoerotic dance performance as an example of contemporary French culture, he’s falsely charged with distributing child pornography over the internet. The vic is placed in a prison and beaten by ‘skinheads’ in his cell. He needs the help of his loyal workplace ally, Svetlana (Joanna Kulig), to keep thinking clearly and staying sane. She’s a rebellious Russian coworker, willing to help him even if that’s risky. She’s married to a former soldier crippled in the war against Chechnya. Her father-in-law is the local FSB chief (the FSB is the successor of the KGB).

Mathieu with no chance of an acquittal, is told by his sympathetic lawyer (Aleksey Gorbunov) he must go on the run to survive and avoid a 15 years sentence. He has been released from prison because of his prison beatings and awaits trial under house arrest with an electronic bracelet strapped to his ankle.

How Mathieu does on his escape and nighttime run to freedom, makes up the gist of the film. The flashbacks of Matthieu reveal his rocky marriage to his unfaithful wife (Elisa Lasowski) and how much he loves his 5-yearold daughter Rose (Olivia Malahieude).

Sagarine (Igor Jijikine) is the vengeful Moscow FSB agent on his trail. We also see how scary it is for him to go through all the menacing check-points.

Kompromat reaches its climax in the Siberian forest.

It’s a gripping thriller, that’s taut and tense.

REVIEWED ON 1/11/2023  GRADE: B+