A Few Days in September is that rarest and most peculiar of creatures: a French arthouse action thriller. Juliette Binoche stars as Irene, a French secret agent who helps to reunite missing American CIA man Eliot (Nick Nolte) with his long estranged children, while protecting him from a CIA assassin (John Turturro). Set in the days leading up to 9/11, director Santiago Amigorena's movie - an uneven, sporadically entertaining affair - has proven controversial for implying the CIA had foreknowledge of the attacks.
Irene hasn't heard from former colleague Eliot for years until, one day in September 2001, he sends her a letter, asking her urgently to bring his children to him. She rounds up French farm girl Orlando (Sara Forestier), and clean-cut American David (Tom Riley), Eliot's children by two different wives, both dead. Before long an assassin called William Pound is after them, and mysterious messages are delivered from Eliot via shady international bankers, who say he has knowledge of an impending cataclysmic event.
"BINOCHE EXCELS AS QUIRKY IRENE"
This movie takes the Hollywood conspiracy theory thriller, and gives it a hard continental twist; the result makes for a strange combination that never quite persuades. Binoche excels as quirky Irene, a hard-nosed agent who also talks to her pet turtle; but Turturro's neurotic, quasi-poetic assassin (he calls his psychoanalyst every time he shoots someone) soon starts to grate. Still, as Binoche and her charges move through Paris and Venice the tension does build, and Nolte - who only makes it to the screen in the film's last minutes - provides a compelling finale.
A Few Days in September is out in the UK on 14th September 2007.