The Wages of Fear Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

On March 29, the action adventure film “The Wages of Fear” premiered on the Netflix platform. This is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by the French writer Georges Arnault, which was published in 1949, and at the same time a remake of its first film adaptation – a thriller starring Yves Montand, which was released four years later. That film has long become a cinema classic, receiving top prizes at the Cannes and Berlin Film Festivals, as well as the British Film Academy. In the review below we tell you what the new film can claim to be, taking into account what it offers the viewer.


the heroes will deliver the beer to the supermarket


almost everything in this film looks absurd and ridiculous

“The Wages of Fear” / Le salaire de la peur

Genre: action-adventure
Directed by Julien Leclerc
Starring Franck Gastambide, Alban Lenoir, Ana Girardot, Sofiane Zermani
Netflix premiere
Year of manufacture 2024
IMDb website

Nine months ago, a coup took place in an unnamed Arab country. At the same time, the courageous bald bodyguard Fred decided to take possession of the easy money of the murdered official, taking his brother Alex into the business. But the guys clearly didn’t think everything through, because right while breaking into the safe, the latter is arrested and thrown behind bars.

In the current timeline, a guilt-ridden hero, let’s call him Vin Diesel on minimum wage, takes on a very risky mission from an oil company. This way he can free Alex.

Since one of the wells suffered an accident not far from a godforsaken village, the office’s managers see the only option to prevent a large-scale catastrophe as blowing up the facility. Therefore, a team of brave mercenaries will have to cross 800 kilometers of desert, controlled to the teeth by armed gangs, in trucks filled with nitroglycerin. The newest “The Wages of Fear” is the remake no one asked for. Considering that Georges Arnault’s novel of the same name has already received an outstanding French (The Wages of Fear by Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953) and at least a decent American (The Sorcerer by William Friedkin, 1977) film adaptation, the appearance of Julien Leclerc’s film looks highly unnecessary.

Almost from the opening shots, the local plot flaunts the typical attributes of “bashki” from the 90s, as if warning the viewer that what awaits him is a straightforward, unpretentious movie about good guys in difficult circumstances.

Before we really get to know the characters, in the first five minutes their clothes come off and a love scene takes place that does not carry any emotional weight. It’s just that people we don’t know and are currently uninteresting to us pretend to be passionate on camera for another minute. In a few more minutes, there will be a fight with bets in prison between that unlucky brother of Vin Diesel on minimum wage and the muscular big guy, and try to guess who will win. And then the viewer is presented with a simple story about a journey full of dangers among the endless desert sands. The emphasis is more on suspense at stops than on the drive while driving (checking documents at checkpoints, crossing a minefield, skirmishing with armed militants, etc.), which is driven more by budgetary capabilities than by a desire to electrify the atmosphere. However, this quest was completed at such a primitive level that it makes you laugh.

The trouble is that the mines here explode only when another extra comes into contact with them, but for real tough guys this is not a hindrance. At the same time, don’t be surprised if it seems to you that they are carrying boxes of Lvov Light, and not a super-explosive substance, shootouts near which can end badly.

Frank Gastambide, responsible for the infamous “Taxi 5” (2018), following the example of one popular street racer (or another bald carrier, depending on who you choose), tries to portray impenetrable severity and deftly tames the unruly gearbox. However, even among the sun-scorched desert, his bald head does not shine as brightly as that of his Hollywood colleagues. Alban Lenoir plays a guy who is a Swede, a reaper, and a pipe player, because he hits hard in the face, clears minefields with improvised means, and most importantly, tolerates the antics of his idiot brother.

Closer to the pseudo-dramatic ending, the creators come to their senses and remember that they are filming for release on Netflix, not VHS. Therefore, Ana Girardot’s character named Clara will be remembered not only for topless shots, but also for the scene where, with the tenacity of a soldier from a post-apocalyptic future, let’s call him Kyle Reese, she will throw explosives at stubborn pursuers as she goes.

“The Wages of Fear” is a movie so ridiculous that it won’t even hold up as a tolerable aperitif before “Furiosa,” which promises crazy racing at maximum speed in that same setting of boundless deserts. Here our journey is too wasteful to waste time on. Let’s just call it a bad movie, this time without any conventions.


Netflix should be paying viewers money to watch a movie like this, not the other way around.

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