We've had Charlotte Grey and Black Book but, by and large, there have been surprisingly few films about the role women played in the French Resistance during the Second World War.
Loosely based on the exploits of Lise de Baissac, a leading agent with Britain's undercover outfit Special Operations Executive, Jean-Paul Salome's wartime thriller is splendidly old fashioned stuff.
A partisan whose husband's killed when an operation goes wrong, Louise Desfontaines (Sophie Marceau) escapes to London where she's recruited by SOE chief Colonel Buck-master, for whom her brother, Pierre (Julien Boisselier) already works.
A wounded British geologist has ended up in a German military hospital and needs to be extracted before they realise who he is and why he was reconnoitring the Normandy beaches.
To which end, the siblings put together an all female team consisting of condemned ex-stripper Jeanne (Depardieu), good time showgirl Suzy (Marie Gillain) and religious explosives expert Gaelle (Deborah Francois). Parachuting into France they hook up with a fifth, Jewish partisan Maria (Maya Sansa), and, in a daring plan that involves distracting the troops with a burlesque show, rescue the geologist just as he's being tortured by Colonel Karl Heindrich (Moritz Bleibreu), head of German counterintelligence.
Not, however, before he's gleaned enough information to realise there's an invasion afoot. Now the women find themselves with a second mission. Go to Paris and kill Heindrich before he can persuade Berlin that Normandy will be the landing zone.
Which is where the hitherto oblivious Suzy discovers why she's on the team. She was once engaged to Heindrich who's still infatuated with her. She'll be the bait to lure him into the open. Not everyone comes out alive.
Shot in the style of 40s noir, it positively rattles along, two of the unit being captured and interrogated in particularly unpleasant fashion before a suspenseful assassination attempt on the Paris Metro and a final underplayed climax.
Strong attention to detail and character raise it above the generic war story cliches, while solid performances led by the determinedly driven Marceau, a steely Depardieu and, bringing depth to what might otherwise be a stock Nazi villain, an almost sympathetic Bleibreu, provide dramatic heft. Think of it as a femme Dirty Dozen with a more attractive cast.