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OPENS JULY 28

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Based on a true story, Agnès Merlet’s film recounts a short period in the aimless, violent lives of two brothers, Martin and Simon (Ludovic Vandendaele and Erick Da Silva), as they act out most publicly their rage against the mother who left them. These incorrigible preteens are a two-boy theft-and-vandalism squad that repeatedly raids a small town on the northern French coast. The film focuses on the kids and their peers, and spends little time with the adults who try to control or even help them; still, its archly poetic style isn’t exactly a convincing expression of preteen consciousness. “Someday we’ll both hide at the bottom of the sea and then we’ll disappear,” whispers one of the boys—the one who wants to be the son of the shark—and such sentiments seem at odds with the boys’ behavior. Shooting alternately in shadows and in the neon palette favored by France’s newest wave, the director grandly aestheticizes her film. It’s visually striking, but the style doesn’t mesh very well with the story: The boys’ tale, after all, is not pretty. At the Key Theater, 1222 Wisconsin Ave. NW. (202) 333-5100. (Mark Jenkins)