A backyard somewhere in Syria. The two young hackers Walid (Marco Horanieh) and Samir (Aziz Dyab) have just cracked a police server. However, the explosive information they find makes them the target of various secret services, above all Gabriel Delage (Vincent Cassel), who is supposed to get the material for a French company.
The British government is also interested in the information, and its Home Secretary Richard Banks (Peter Mullan) hires Alison Rowdy (Eva Green) to obtain it. The viewer soon learns that Delage and Rowdy were a couple years ago when they lived in France. However, Alison Rowdy now serves the British government.
Fast sequence of scenes
Delage manages to get in touch with the two hackers and promise them asylum in France. However, the operation to get them out of the country ends in disaster. Nonetheless, the two hackers, along with Samir’s wife and child, manage to flee to Britain.
When the system of national cyber security there is cracked a little later, suspicion falls on the Syrians, who are classified as suspected terrorists. The search for the alleged perpetrators is intensified after the first, rather harmless hacker attack is followed by further, much more serious attacks.
As is usual with spy thrillers, and especially cyber security films, the scenes alternate in quick succession. The international flair is also supported by the various languages that are used – you can quickly switch from French to English and vice versa. However, Russian and Arabic are also spoken.
A clear strength of the Apple series lies in the cast: Vincent Cassel, who shines in action films (“Public Enemy”, “Kind 44”) as well as in social comedies (“Everything but Ordinary”) and psychological thrillers (“Black Swan”) , and the equally versatile Eva Green (Casino Royal, Proxima) are among the best contemporary French actors. However, this also includes the actors who play secondary characters, especially Irène Jacob, who was made famous by the Kieslowski films “The Two Lives of Veronika” and “Three Colors. Red” became known in the early 1990s.
They make up for the fact that the characters designed by series developer Virginie Brac actually seem pretty cliche. The various twists and turns in the plot aren’t particularly original either. The staging also turns out to be rather conventional – compared to espionage series like “Slow Horses” or to series about international upheavals like “Diplomatic Relations”. Of greater interest than the main plot itself is Gabriel Delage and Alison Rowdy’s past together, which creates suspense as it is only gradually revealed. Virginie Brac can be credited with the fact that she designed “Liaison” as a mini-series with six episodes, i.e. relatively compact, and that she therefore usually keeps the pace high.
Even if the combination of an exciting espionage thriller and the level of anti-terrorist struggles in the post-Brexit period with the complex interpersonal relationships of the protagonists is not always consistent, “Liaison” is characterized by the fact that the series is of great political and social relevance : Primarily due to the changes in European politics that came about after Brexit, and which are also reflected in the Franco-British relationship between the two protagonists: After their shared past, the British and the French find themselves on no longer entirely friendly different sides again. Their complicated relationship transfers the post-Brexit relationship between Great Britain and France or the European Union to the private level.
Attack on critical infrastructure
In addition, there is the refugee policy or the increasing role of private security companies on the international stage.
Among these issues, however, there is a greater concern: digitization and today’s prevailing dependence of society on different technologies mean that a cyber attack becomes what used to be called a meltdown, the “worst possible accident”. “Liaison” provides clear examples of how a computer-controlled attack on so-called “critical infrastructure” (KRITIS) can bring an entire society to the brink of chaos – the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance says that if KRITIS fails or is impaired, “sustainable Supply bottlenecks, significant disruptions to public safety or other dramatic consequences would occur”.
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