TIL: Eric Cantona stars in crime thrillers now


25th February 2012

Today I learned that former kickballer extraordinaire and now actor, Eric Cantona, has taken his love for kicking things and speaking in front of cameras to a logical conclusion: crime/action thrillers! Actually that's a half-truth - I found this out last week but only bothered typing it up today.

Please see below a trailer for 2011 French crime thriller Switch, which stars Karine Vanasse as a victim of mistaken identity on the run from the law, and Eric Cantona as The Law. I think. My French isn't very good. It seems to be a fairly decent-looking action romp, however, like The Bourne Identity if it was set in a Eurostar departure lounge.

Also from last year is De Force; another film in that gritty crime/drama/action vein the French do so well (see also: Mesrine), except in this one Cantona is playing the villain. De Force has the distinction of having been written and directed by an actual real life armed robber - Frank Henry - which is a bit like if The Wire was written by Omar Little. I said a bit.

Cantona has featured in plenty of films since hanging up his boots - most notably a small role in the Oscar-winning Elizabeth, as well as 2009's Looking For Eric - so I don't know why this new discovery surprises me. I guess I was just happy to be reminded of one of the last truly great characters of the sport (by which I mean it gave me an excuse to youtube that clip).

But is he actually any good at acting? The French language always sounds effortlessly sophisticated, making it hard to gauge performance without the ability to identify subtle nuances - he could be the French equivalent of whoever plays Phil Mitchell and I'd be none the wiser. If the French film industry could make a film without any dialogue in that would really help cover up an embarassment of ignorance on my part, thanks.

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