Tensions erupt when two filmmakers infiltrate an area ruled by gangs to shoot a music video for a rapper in this gritty found-footage series.

Year: 2021
Certificate: 15
Runtime: 1 Season (1hr 42min)
Director: Ange BastergaNicolas Lopez
Starring: Abdramane DiakitéMohamed BoudouhSébastien HoubaniIdir AzougliJulien MeuriceAbdillah AssoumaniJean-Toussaint BernardRomain Vissol

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It’s not often that we review TV series here as multiple seasons, varying directors and writers throughout etc can make it hard to review as a whole. However, “Dealer” is one of the exceptions as the 10 episodes have an average runtime of 10 minutes meaning the whole series, ignoring the credits, is about 90 minutes long. It’s essentially a film but broken down into chapters.

The series uses the ‘found footage’ trope but, unlike most, doesn’t give you a story at the beginning of what was happening and how the footage was found. I liked that. We start with Franck and Thomas in a car talking about how they are heading out to spend some time with a new rapper, Tony, to make a video for his record label. Tony, we learn, has just come out of prison for drug dealing and a video he made went viral – hence his record deal.

From the moment the film crew arrive in Tony’s ‘hood you can feel the tension as dubious looking people on bikes watch their every move. It’s like entering a warzone with various levels of guards to get past in order to get to Tony. It’s not easy for Franck and Thomas to persuade the gangs that they’re not cops and early on it’s clear to the viewer that the pair may be out of their depth – and you really start to feel for them.

I’ve already mentioned the tension that can be felt through Franck and Thomas’ recording but a lot of the series is also quite frantic and action-packed. The series is French and, if you’re not used to watching shows with subtitles, then you may struggle to keep up with reading the text and following what’s happening on screen. This is, in my opinion, the only thing that would put someone off watching “Dealer” – although an English dub is an option. However, you can tell from the acting and the visuals what is going on even if you don’t manage to ingest the subtitles on the screen. In all honesty, the majority of the film is easy to follow but I felt it worth noting that there are a few more frantic parts that may be hard to read along to. French gangsters talk quite fast!

The story is an interesting one and as the film crew spend more time with Tony we learn more about his life and his goals – he has a very interesting story arc. We also see more of the gangs and drugs that highlight the difficulties for the Men-in-Suits at the record label and how they can cash in on the current trends. As well as the lengths they will go to make their money…

I really enjoyed watching “Dealer” – the episodic nature of the show meant it was easy to have a ‘break’ when needed from the frantic Frenchmen but also left me itching to watch more. The fast cuts between the different scenes/events means that there’s no time for filler and the filmmakers fit a surprising amount of story and sub-plot into the overall 90 minute runtime. The acting throughout is fantastic and the main characters all have their own very interesting stories. It is certainly not your typical foray into the found-footage ‘genre’ and it comes highly reccomended.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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