A tale of true love without the romance

JASON STATHAM as Luke Wright in SAFE directed by BOAZ YAKIN, released in the UK on MAY 4TH.
JASON STATHAM as Luke Wright in SAFE directed by BOAZ YAKIN, released in the UK on MAY 4TH.

THE BASIC plot of Goodbye First Love (Cert 15) couldn’t be more simple. A teenage girl is devastated by the departure of her first true love and only years later is she able to commit to someone else – at which point the boyfriend reappears in her life and she finds herself torn between the two.

In the hands of writer-director Mia Hansen-Love (like her previous Father of My Children, it’s a semi-autobiographical tale) it is far from the romantic melodrama that might imply.

GOODBYE FIRST LOVE''Camille ............. LOLA CR�TON 'Sullivan ............. SEBASTIAN URZENDOWSKY

GOODBYE FIRST LOVE''Camille ............. LOLA CR�TON 'Sullivan ............. SEBASTIAN URZENDOWSKY

We first meet Camille (Lola Creton) naked in bed ready to greet boyfriend Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky) for some energetic love-making.

It comes as something of a surprise to discover she’s only 15 (he’s a few years older) but her immaturity shows in her reaction to Sullivan’s announcement that he wants to go backpacking in South America. To her it is the end of the world and it very nearly is once he has gone.

Time passes and we see Camille eventually find another passion in architecture which leads to a career but also a relationship with her Norwegian professor (Magne-Havard Brekke). This is a mature love compared with that first love but when she encounters Sullivan the youthful flame of passion has not been extinguished.

It’s a very French kind of film – influences of Rohmer and Truffaut have been suggested – in the way it avoids some of the clichés that could apply to a story of conflicted love. It’s a story that is bound to resonate more with female audiences.

Camille (an extraordinarily mature performance from the 17-year-old Creton) will be a little too self-obsessed for some tastes.

Action-thriller Safe (Cert 15) is probably all you would expect from a movie whose only recognisable face is that of Brit hardman Jason Statham, who seems to be assuming the kind of roles that previously would have gone to Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal where most of the largely anonymous cast are blown away. For all his credentials as a cockney geezer, by the way, Statham was actually born in the North Derbyshire pit village of Shirebrook.

Statham plays disgraced former New York cop and washed-up cage fighter Luke, whose refusal to take a dive gets his wife murdered by the Russian Mafia and he is consigned to a deadbeat existence on the streets.

On the point of putting himself out of his misery under a subway train, he spots a 10-year-old Chinese girl being chased by some hoods.

He vows to rescue her and keep her safe in gratitude for giving him a reason to live.

He soon establishes she is Mei (Catherine Chan), a mathematical genius whose ability to memorise a complex code to unlock $30m has made her wanted by the Triads, the Russian mob and his corrupt former colleagues in the NYPD.

It’s one preposterous head-crunching, gun-shooting scene after another with the odd bit of banter between the grizzled slap-head and his precocious companion and is dispiritingly pretty much what it says on the tin.