A catalog of technical prowess that doesn’t stop at overkill, “Sweat” is “Mad Max” meets “Wages of Fear” meets “Greed” in inspiration, yet almost totally uninvolving in its ultra-slick execution. Jean-Hugues Anglade completists will find him in feisty form as a big-rig driver hired by a corrupt airport employee to move 10 tons of contraband across an unforgiving stretch of Moroccan desert. Action fans also may bite.
Edith Piaf’s classic ditty, “Non, je ne regrette rien,” is used in ironic counterpoint as Harvey (Anglade), young grease-monkey Victor (Cyrille Thouvenin), desert novice Noh (Joaquim De Almeida) and irritant Simon (Sagamore Stevenin) face constant cause for regret. Burnished, ultra-glossy widescreen landscape is lovingly committed to celluloid in glossy widescreen by freshman helmer Louis-Pascal Couvelaire, with a photogenic precision honed over more than 400 commercials, and pic is packed with incident, betrayals and counter-betrayals. But there’s absolutely nothing to root for and nobody to side with in the unrelentingly cranked up proceedings. Aggressive sound design makes every footstep echo like Godzilla’s paw and every lit cigarette sizzle like a forest fire. Gruff patter skews toward four-letter words.