Not to be confused with Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr’s sci-fi horror Black Box also released last year, the slick and tight French thriller, Boite Noire (Black Box), is a must see.
Mathieu (Pierre Niney) is a black box analyst with the French civil aviation authority. His superhuman hearing sensitivity enables him to hone in on indiscernible sounds in black box recordings from downed airliners to ascertain the crew’s final moments. He’s a frustrated pilot who wasn’t accepted for training due to his less than 20/20 eyesight. Mathieu’s terrier-like approach and complete thoroughness has rubbed many of his colleagues the wrong way.
When a brand new aircraft on a flight from Dubai to Paris crashes, Mathieu is assigned the investigation. Very quickly, he has pushed the technology to extract audio that will point to the suspected cause of the crash being a terrorist attack. In the absence of his boss Pollock (Olivier Rabourdin), Mathieu briefs the press alongside the head of the authority, Renier (Andre Dussollier) and to write up the final report and transcript.
It’s his first report and the weight of responsibility weighs heavily on him. He desperately needs Pollock’s assistance but no one has seen him, now absent for days. Rifling through Pollock’s office, Mathieu swipes a piece of paper with a series of numbers written on it. Correctly guessing the numbers are map coordinates, he follows he sat nav to Pollocks’ property but there is no sign of him.
Meanwhile, Mathieu’s wife Noemi (Lou de Laage) is a senior executive with the industry’s aviation safety authority. Coincidentally, the day after certifying the downed airline manufacturer’s jet for use, she is whisked away by the company to work for them. Information gathered from an industry source, suggests the manufacturer rushed the jet to market too soon in order to beat competition.
The questions are mounting up and Mathieu is growing frantic: can he trust his wife? Where is Pollock and why did he disappear at the same time as the crash? And what’s with the black Mercedes following Mathieu to his home and work?
Black Box will grab you within the first few minutes with cinematography that throws you right into the story and the mystery and tension won’t let up until the end.
Black Box has its international premiere at the 2021 Alliance Francaise French Film Festival. Check your local guides for screening times.
About Black Box
Length: 130 mins
Language: French with English subtitles
Directed by Yann Gozlan
Written by Nicolas Bouvet, Yann Gozlan
Stars Pierre Niney, Lou de Laage, Andre Dussollier, Sebastien Pouderoux, Olivier Rabourdin