Netflix’s French action-thriller, Restless (aka Sans répit), narrates the wretched and thrilling tale of a corrupt cop who accidentally runs over a person and resorts to paramount measures to cover up his actions, only to be blackmailed by an evil eye witness.
Restless encapsulates the misfortunes of a corrupt French cop, Lieutenant Thomas (Franck Gastambide), who accidentally runs over a man while driving at night.
At the same time, his department is facing an investigation by Internal Affairs for alleged allegations of bribery, which Thomas is in on. After the accident, he is told by his colleagues, Marc (Michaël Abiteboul) and Naomi (Tracy Gotoas), to not come to the station as the authorities are already there. Fortunately, they flush away his hidden stack of money before anyone gets a whiff of it.
After a quick with officers at a National Guard Checkpost, Thomas heads to the hospital where his mom has passed away and his arrival is being awaited for the coffin to be closed. Once there, he greets his daughter and sister, and bids his mother a final goodbye.
In a twist of events, he uses the coffin to hide the body of the man he’s killed alongside the corps of his mother and apologises for it under his breath.
Once the two bodies are buried, Thomas tries to move on in life but fate throws him right back into the pickle he just got out of. His team is assigned to hunt down a perpetrator named Barcelo (Nabil Missoumi), who turns out to be the same guy Thomas ran over.
As he plans his next move, Thomas receives threatening calls from a senior official in the narcotics department, Commissioner Marelli (Simon Abkarian), who is aware of the accident and wants Barcelo’s body back for personal gain.
Franck Gastambide as Thomas is exciting to watch. His character is always at the mercy of fate which is constantly against him in this film. He does well to emote the feelings of a troubled man, trying his best to come out on top of all adversities that confront him. He can get a little monotonous at times but his performance does just to the script’s demands.
Simon Abkarian is a mean foe as Marelli. He is the perfect concoction of menacing evil and authoritative corruption that sits well in the plot. His unpredictable and visceral nature make him extremely entertaining in all the scenes he’s in.
Michaël Abiteboul and Tracy Gotoas have limited screen time but rise up to what is expected of their characters.
Restless is an exhilarating ride, thanks to its short runtime and crisp editing. The action-thriller elements are present in all their glory with sleek combat sequences and intense developments.
The narrative creates an interesting conflict for the audience by presenting a protagonist who is faulty and corrupt. In order to root for him you need to accept his dubious nature which can be difficult unless compared to the outrightly evil Marelli.
The direction plausible and the well-blended visual effects aid the narrative.
The screenplay for Restless is quite basic. There isn’t anything special or extremely astonishing in the plot that really leaves you in awe. Except for a subtle twist at the end about Barcelo’s fate, the story is quite predictable and straightforward.
The characters don’t really have any depth to them. The film’s protagonist and antagonist are two individuals with their own sets of demons who collide but we never get to know what their motivations are.
The concept of corrupt officers of the law being involved in illegal drug trafficking for personal gain is extremely overdone. Restless introduces you to a world where everyone wants to thrive by illegal means but doesn’t differentiate itself from tropes that plague the narrative style.
Restless is not a brilliant masterpiece and a standout in the action-thriller genre but is still a fun binge. Despite its certain shortcomings which are quite common in the genre, the film turns out to be an entertaining one.