“Cache Cash” is a solidly entertaining and sweetly plotted adventure that interweaves a bank heist, cavalier parents, animal friends, strong women, evil men and two resourceful children. Charming suspense tale, convincingly told from youngsters’ point of view, is a real find for family-oriented fests and foreign-lingo-friendly theatrical and tube slots. An eventual English-language remake would come as no surprise.
Claude Pinoteau — who launched Sophie Marceau and others on promising careers — scores with two gifted child actors who come across as natural and appealing without a trace of smarm.
From his secret treehouse in the forest, resilient 11-year-old country boy Antoine (Aurelien Wiik) spots bank robbers hiding their 40-million-franc haul. Because one of the conspirators is Jacques (Michel Duchaussoy), father to Antoine’s new best friend — adorable 10-year-old Lisa (Josephine Serre), who’s visiting for the summer from Canada — Antoine moves the stash instead of blowing the whistle.
The kids share a love of animals and a healthy disdain for hypocritical grown-ups, including their own, mostly absentee, fathers. Antoine and Lisa run away in style to the resort town of Biarritz, discovering that a steady supply of 500-franc notes and a little chutzpah pave the way nicely.
Missing loot infuriates bandit Max (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), who sets off to intercept the kids in a sustained chase peppered with close calls.
Pic has two choice roles for strong women. Slinky Claire (Sophie Broustal) uses her body to get what she wants. Antoine’s chief ally, outrageously strong governess Clemence (Rose Thiery), can outlift and outpunch any man, which makes her very handy in a fight.
Nerdy Jean (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) successfully beds Claire when she mistakenly thinks he has the missing loot. Tasteful sex and nudity, which Gallic youngsters take in stride, might be problematic in other markets.
The late Jean Carmet appears briefly as a reluctant veterinarian.
Breathless finale is well staged in a house-of-horrors fairground ride. Jaunty Vladimir Cosma score is pleasing and effective.