There has been much attention in France to “Nocturama,” Bertrand Bonello’s film about a group of young terrorists who blow up buildings in Paris. The first half of the film is suspenseful as we follow the secret movements and meetings carried out to make the coordinated destruction happen. But then instead of scattering to safety, the perpetrators inexplicably gather in a department store after closing. They party in the store while awaiting a certain morning assault by the police. There doesn’t seem to be any philosophical motivation for the terrorists, who just seem to be out to make trouble or prove that they can.

Holing up in the department store seems thoroughly dopy, as it can mean certain death, although when it comes right down to the cops killing the terrorists one by one, it is apparent that they really want to live. The cast members perform well as different types from different backgrounds, but there is a certain craziness in the behavior that is at odds with highly motivated terrorism that poses serious threats to cities and countries.

h The best part of the film is the earliest when in snappy detail the well-coordinated participants set up the ultimate acts through various assignments swiftly carried out. The film goes downhill from there. Reviewed August 11, 2017.

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