From Philippe Haïm, one of the writers and directors of the French flic drama series Braquo, comes Deep, a stylized crime drama that’s set to debut in the US and UK.
Before he began writing and directing, Philippe Haïm (Secrets of State) was a composer. Still is. In Deep (En Immersion) — the three-part drugs drama he created, co-wrote, directed, and scored — music is central to the telling of the story, occasionally replacing dialogue altogether.
Combine that with Haïm’s shooting the miniseries in black and white, and you have a stylized, if not stylish, contemporary crime thriller.
Patrick Ridremont (Dead Man Talking) stars in Deep as Michel Serrero, an unambitious cop and single father in Paris. Following a series of powerful hallucinations that have been plaguing him and interrupting his otherwise uneventful life, he gets the diagnosis. It’s bleak. He is suffering from an incurable and fatal neurological disease.
With nothing left to lose now, Michel goes on a tear when a colleague humiliates him for the umpteenth time, and does something completely out of character: he joins a team of undercover narcotics agents led by the charismatic, demanding, and aptly-nicknamed La Reine, or the Queen (Emmanuelle Meyssignac, The Avignon Prophecy), working to bring down Guillaume Leanour (Olivier Chantreau, Spiral).
On the surface Leanour is a bourgeois entrepreneur; in reality he’s a violent drugs trafficker whose ambition is to conquer the Paris drug market. And he’s creating just the product that will leave his competitors in every arrondissement in the dust. It is the first clean synthetic drug that users vape through e-cigarettes. What’s more, Leanour has a network of undocumented residents who do his dirty work selling the stuff on the streets.
Caught in the fray is Clara (Pénélope Rose-Lévêque, Profilage), Michel’s only daughter. While her papa hides his new role at work and his fatal illness from her, she, a lonely, troubled teen, falls under the sway of her boyfriend, a high school student who keeps Clara in her drug habit. Yet it is quite by accident that she discovers Leanour’s new drug… and quite predictable that she sinks further into addiction.
Also at risk is Soudoumbé (Victor Viel, Hasta mañana), a refugee from the war in Mali. He arrived in Paris by way of people smugglers, who force him to become one amongst Leanour’s vast network of street dealers as their payment. The thing is, Soudoumbé sucks at his job and ends up being both a pawn of the police and a target of the drug traffickers.
As the story unfolds, each player in this high-stakes game continues to make his or her moves. The question is, which one, if any of them, will win in this war on and for drugs?
A production of Mascaret Films for Arte, Deep is produced by Ariel Askénazi and Bénédicte Lesage (both of Antigone 34) and features Yann Sundberg (Crossing Lines), Salem Kali (Braquo), and Caroline Ducey (Les petits meurtres d’Agatha Christie).
Deep premieres in the US and UK tomorrow, 1 July 2016, on Netflix. It will be shown in French with English and other language subtitles.