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Film / Above the Law (2017)

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Above the Law (French: Tueurs, "Killers") is a 2017 Belgian-French conspiracy thriller film directed by François Troukens and Jean-François Hensgens, starring Olivier Gourmet, Lubna Azabal, Bouli Lanners, Anne Coesens and Natacha Régnier.

Véronique Pirotte (Régnier), a judge, is investigating a series of killings that happened 30 years ago. She is murdered in the car park of a supermarket during a violent heist, pulled by Frank Valken (Gourmet) and his gang. Soon, Valken is arrested but he denies involvement in the murder when he is questioned by Lucie Tesla (Azabal), a police investigator. Bouvy (Lanners), Tesla's superior, is convinced of the guilt of Valken.

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Not to be confused with the 1988 film starring Steven Seagal.


Above the Law provides examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The first scene of the movie is the murder of Véronique Pirotte and other innocent bystanders in the car park of a supermarket.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Vik stays alive just long enough to tell Valken that he was a mole and worked for Bouvy.
  • Anyone Can Die: The only survivor amongst the main characters is Valken, the protagonist. Véronique Pirotte, Santo, Dédé, Van Bollen, Nora, Vik, Lucie Tesla, Danny Bouvy, Jean Lemoine all die.
  • Badass Driver: Nora is the driver of Valken's gang. She is quite good at losing the police.
  • Bank Robbery: Valken and his gang steal money from a bank.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Valken, the protagonist, is a mobster who commits violent heists. The antagonist, Bouvy, is a dirty cop who resorts to the murders of many innocent people to cover up the truth about a series of killings in which he was directly involved.
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  • The Caper: Valken and his gang sets up an elaborate plan to rob a bank.
  • Caught on Tape: Valken records Bouvy and Lemoine when they admit their crimes in front of Tesla in Lemoine's house. He later gives the tape to the journalist.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The guns that Vik supplies to Valken's gang early in the movie. In the end, it is revealed that Vik is a mole and that the guns contained tracking devices.
  • Clear My Name: Valken is framed up for the murders of Véronique Pirotte and innocent bystanders. He tries to prove that he is innocent.
  • Conspiracy Thriller: Valken, the protagonist, robs a bank. He is arrested and framed up for the murder of a judge who investigated a series of killings. Soon he realizes that it is a cover-up operation of a Government Conspiracy.
  • Creator Cameo: The director, François Troukens, plays the role a guard at the bank.
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  • Dirty Cop: Bouvy is the chief of police, but he was directly involved in the series of killings that happened 30 years ago. In order to stop the investigation of Véronique Pirotte about these crimes, he sets up a cover-up operation which involves the murder of many innocent people.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Valken and his gang hijack an armored van of a company named "Brookmis". This name is a portmanteau of Brink's and Loomis, two real-life companies.
  • Flashback: After the murder of Véronique Pirotte in the car park, a flashback shows her searching a forest in her investigation of the series of killings and the arrest of Van Bollen.
  • Frameup: Bouvy sets up the murder of Véronique Pirotte at the moment where Frank Valken is robbing a bank, in order to frame Valken up.
  • Fugitive Arc: Valken and his accomplices are on the run after the heist. Then he is arrested, but he escapes and he is on the run again.
  • Government Conspiracy: It turns out that a minister, the chief of police and a prosecutor are involved in the series of killings that happened 30 years ago. And they would do anything to cover up their crimes.
  • He Knows Too Much: The motivation of most of the murders committed by Bouvy and his accomplices: Véronique Pirotte, Dédé, Van Bollen, Vik and Tesla are all murdered because they know some of his secrets.
  • Hiding in a Hijab: Vik dresses up as a muslim woman when he infiltrates the prison to break Valken out.
  • Hostage Situation: This tactics is used by Valken, Vik and Nora to get Valken safely out of jail. Unfortunately, Vik kills the last hostage, Van Bollen.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: During the escape from the prison, Vik holds Van Bollen at gunpoint. Suddenly, his gun goes off. He tells that he pulled the trigger accidentally. Subverted, because it is later revealed that Vik is a mole working for Bouvy, so he probably killed Van Bollen intentionally.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The killers murder all the bystanders in the supermarket car park, so that nobody can tell what really happened.
  • Lemming Cops: After the bank robbery, two police cars chase Valken and Santo. Santo shoots at them. Finally the police cars crash.
  • The Mole:
    • Bouvy is the chief of police, but he is involved in the series of killings that happened 30 years ago and he would do anything to cover up his crimes.
    • Vik secretly works for the Big Bad, Bouvy.
    • Jean Lemoine, the prosecutor, is also involved in the series of killings that happened 30 years ago.
  • Mysterious Informant: Dédé feeds information to Véronique Pirotte and to a journalist, about the series of killings that happened 30 years ago. He was directly involved in it. Bouvy murders him when he identifies him.
  • Never Suicide: Dédé is murdered, but Bouvy tries to make his death out to be a suicide.
  • One Last Job: The bank robbery is Valken's last job before retirement.
  • Parking Garage: The murders of Véronique Pirotte and other innocent bystanders happen in the parking garage of a supermarket.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The events of the film are triggered by the murder of Véronique Pirotte.
  • The Reveal:
    • When he murders Dédé, we understand that Bouvy is a dirty cop involved in a conspiracy.
    • After being shot by a hitman, Vik confesses that he was a mole and worked for Bouvy.
    • When Tesla meets him in his house, we understant that Lemoine is involved in the conspiracy.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Valken takes revenge and he murders Danny Bouvy and Jean Lemoine, who framed him up for the murder of Véronique Pirotte and killed his friend Santo.
  • Tracking Device:
    • There is a tracking device is the armored van. Valken and his gang transfer it from one van to the other to fool the guy who monitors the journey.
    • There are tracking devices in the weapons supplied by Vik to Valken and his gang. This allows Bouvy to track Valken's gang.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The film is based on the Brabant killers case, but only what happened 30 years ago is based on true events. The main plotline of the film is completely fictional.
  • Wet Blanket Wife: Valken's love interest Hélène tries to persuade him to stop his criminal activities. She tells him that she does not want to be on the run any more.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Vik secretly worked for Bouvy, but, after Valken escapes from prison, Bouvy orders to kill him.

Alternative Title(s): Tueurs

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