Les Combattants

Les Combattants

Thomas Cailley (2014)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Despite winning three Césars, Thomas Cailley's debut feature never quite delivers on its promise. Set in the south-western region of Aquitaine, it opens in droll fashion with siblings Arnaud and Manu (played by Kévin Azaïs and Antoine Laurent) deciding to take over their late father's lumber business. But the former becomes distracted (or is that smitten?) after he is bested in a fight by a tomboy (Adèle Haenel) who talks him into attending a two-week army survival course to prepare them for the inevitable apocalypse. The picture then takes a peculiar turn when the pair opt to live in the wilds, and kooky screwball is replaced by conventional romantic comedy that's almost chauvinist in the way it tames Haenel's shrew. The leads are splendid, with Azaïs's genial vacancy and Haenel's deadpan gravity persuading viewers that they could be a genuine couple. But, while David Cailley's cinematography is top notch, his older brother's direction is a little wayward, while the charm of the screenplay is undermined by a disappointing dénouement.


A directionless man facing an uncertain future meets a woman who believes that civilisation is doomed to fall apart very soon. He follows her to an army boot camp, where she is hoping to learn survival skills, and romance blossoms as they struggle with the hardships of their training. Romantic drama, starring Adele Haenel and Kevin Azais. In French.

Cast & Crew

Madeleine Beaulieu Adèle Haenel
Arnaud Labrède Kévin Azaïs
Manu Labrède Antoine Laurent
Hélène Labrède Brigitte Roüan
Xavier William Lebghil
Victor Thibaut Berducat
Lieutenant Schliefer Nicolas Wanczycki
Director Thomas Cailley
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Other Information

Language: French +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Curzon Film WorldGuidance: Swearing, a sex scene, brief nudity.Released on: 19 Jun 2015