By-the-book cop Stephane (Damien Bonnard), only just arrived from Cherbourg, joins the anti-criminality brigade of Montfermeil in a sensitive district of the Paris suburbs. Paired up with Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga) whose methods are less scrupulous, he witnesses the tensions between the various neighbourhood groups.
The theft of a lion cub from a travelling circus is the catalyst for violence. Throw in a cop with a hair-trigger and the ingredients for a full-blown riot are ready to stir. Propelled by Pink Noise’s electronic score, Ladj Ly’s debut is a deft depiction of the escalation of chaos. Victor Hugo would have greatly approved, from the joyful opening to the unforgettable final fadeout.