Nocturama ★★★½

Bertrand Bonello's Nocturama presents a formally pristine approach to morally tricky material. The point is to get us to sympathize or, at least, identify with a group of young terrorists, who orchestrate a series of bombings across Paris. Bonello's depiction of the plan is the pristine part, following each player with long tracking shots, while intercutting between each player doing his or her part. The trickery comes in the attempt to get us to sympathize with them. That involves making them seem not too bright, not giving them a real motive or ideology (There's an undercurrent of economic anxiety and anger at "the System" for that, although a lengthy stay in a high-end department store makes hypocrites of them all), and not showing the full results of the attack (We hear sirens and helicopters, as well as see footage of fiery cars and buildings, but never learn if there are any casualties). The film doesn't work in that regard, but it's still quite an experience.