Netflix’s Sentinelle Can’t Spot Its Own Red Flags
Written By Matthew Sadowski
While on a mission in the Middle East, French soldier Klara (Olga Kurylenko) witnesses a young boy, egged on by his own father, detonate a suicide vest. Her team is killed and Klara is thrown to the ground, clearly physically and emotionally shaken. The thing is, you cannot take any of it seriously; nobody could have missed that trap. The bomb vest was not at all small, but a whole contraption covering the kid’s torso. We just saw the boy and his father apprehended moments before, surrounded by soldiers. The boy did not look bulky? Immediately before the kid detonates the vest, he was being patted down. A trained soldier didn’t feel it? Plus, the USB stick-sized detonator was in his hand. Nobody saw that he was holding anything? These types of bizarre oversights will occur again and again in Netflix’s latest thriller, Sentinelle.
Due to the overwhelming stress Klara now suffers, she is transferred back to Paris to serve in “Operation Sentinel,” a counter-terrorism unit of the French army that exclusively patrols areas with heavy civilian foot-traffic. Klara finds dealing with tourists difficult, begins to behave increasingly paranoid and becomes addicted to drugs. Her younger sister Tania (Marilyn Lima) Klara takes out to a local nightclub to blow off some steam, but while Klara is away on a one-night-stand, Tania is brutally assaulted and sent into a coma. Klara takes it upon herself to enact revenge.
What should be a serious meditation on violence and how it affects us is always betrayed by bizarre choices. Nobody ever questions if Klara is sane. What should clearly be a red flag to her new squad, like needlessly aiming a gun at civilians, trying to drown a suspect, and just generally leaving formation and wandering off by herself, is never anything of true concern to anybody. Even after her weapon is finally confiscated, she somehow is still allowed back into the armory.
The cinematography is pretty, but it doesn’t mean much: Why is Klara standing outside her sister’s hospital room when the door is open and no one is in there? Oh, so she can look cool and stare into the window past bar-like blinds. Vigilante movies work the best when everyone around the protagonist realizes just how far off the deep end they’ve gone. Sentinelle simply never acknowledges it.
Directed by: Julian Leclercq
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Marilyn Lima, Michel Nabokoff
Streaming on: Netflix
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