‘Bad Seeds’ Review: A Scam Artist Teaches From the School of Life | Modern Society of USA

‘Bad Seeds’ Review: A Scam Artist Teaches From the School of Life

‘Bad Seeds’ Review: A Scam Artist Teaches From the School of Life

“Bad Seeds” opens with a quote from Victor Hugo. (“There are no weeds, and no worthless men. There are only bad farmers.”) Then it pivots on another quote about troubled teens. (“Remember, a problem child is a child with problems.”)

Eventually, it just gifts the lead character, a scam artist turned educator, with a literal book of quotations. This sweet-and-salty redemption tale from France, written and directed by its mononymous star, Kheiron, wants to deliver a message about the outcasts and ne’er-do-wells of Paris banlieues. And it arrives one corny aphorism at a time.

As Wael, a former street child who steals wallets and hearts, Kheiron prowls through “Bad Seeds” with a sprightly restlessness that seems rooted in his stand-up comedy. Catherine Deneuve graciously cedes the floor as Monique, Wael’s adoptive mother and partner-in-crime, who has mastered her part in a nifty fake purse-snatching scheme. When Victor (André Dussollier), an old acquaintance of hers, catches them in the act, he threatens to press charges unless they agree to take part in his organization, which seeks to rehabilitate teenage delinquents.

There’s some fun in watching Wael con his students into learning — while also teaching them the art of the con — but the film, which debuted last week on Netflix, can’t keep the sentiment at bay for long. Between flashbacks to Wael’s hardscrabble past in an unnamed, bombed-out Middle Eastern city and its insistence on solving the problems of each and every one of his six students, “Bad Seeds” mostly sticks to an earnest syllabus.

Source link