Saving Robert De Niro: Jean Reno as Francophone All-American Action Hero



Johnston C (2007) Saving Robert De Niro: Jean Reno as Francophone All-American Action Hero. Studies in European Cinema, 4 (3), pp. 167-176.

This article examines the complexities of both French and American transnational identities as portrayed onscreen by Jean Reno. The significance of the particular elements of French and American culture and identity which feature at the heart of Reno’s roles in three films (Mission: Impossible, Godzilla, and Ronin) is analysed in an attempt to illustrate that, while feeding on national and cultural stereotype, the overall persona that emerges is one inescapably in dialogue with both Atlantic coasts, rather than one which engages with the somewhat simplistic binary backdrop of French anti-Americanism and American francophobia. This transcultural dialogue is further discussed through brief analysis of Reno’s onscreen relationship with the major American box office stars of these three films, namely Tom Cruise, Matthew Broderick, and Robert de Niro. What emerges from these two parallel strands of analysis is a multilayered, transnational screen persona, at once embedded in and breaking with transatlantic clichés.

Jean Reno; transatlantic cinema; action films; stars; Motion pictures Europe; Motion pictures Social aspects France.; Clichés in motion pictures; Clichés France

Studies in European Cinema: Volume 4, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2007

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Dr Cristina Johnston

Dr Cristina Johnston

Senior Lecturer, French