Going for the jugular in its opening scene, Hannezo plunges into the chaotic aftermath of a bank heist gone horribly awry for its perpetrators. The four crewmembers (Guillaume Gouix, Francois Arnaud, Franck Gastambide and Laurent Lucas) burst onto the scene, furiously attempting to escape the reckoning of a bloodily, appropriated take. They soon seek out hostages and find their first in a woman (Virginie Ledoyen) walking to her car. When the attempt to flee in her vehicle is thwarted, they take a man (Lambert Wilson) and his daughter captive for transportation. From here a white knuckle journey with terrified hostages and their paranoid captives takes arresting form.
As its high charging story, ebbs and flows with unexpected spurts of violence, ‘Rabid Dogs’ takes on a sense of woozy wonderment at its morally bankrupt thieves and after one has adjusted to the realization that its antagonists are rail thin in the redemption department, the attention shifts to their victims. The movie strokes its audience with enough teasing to believe, like its female protagonist, there is some way to change the course of their fate through an emotional appeal but it cannot.
There is a danger that sinisterly lurks beneath the surface of this particular story that makes it unnerving in a way most English-language films are too timid to attempt. It never lets up on the sense that its hostages are at constant risk and that the tide can turn against them in an instant. Adjusting to its rash nature requires some patience as it risks losing viewers with an opening act that’s madness can overwhelm to the point of disillusion. If you can make it past the rough break of its stormy waves, a rigorous yet compelling venture awaits.