Netflix’s new #1 movie is a remake of a French classic with divisive reviews

The Wages of Fear
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Wages of Fear has climbed to the top of the Global Netflix charts – but not everyone is loving Julien Leclercq's modern remake.

The original film, directed and co-written by Henri-Georges Clouzot, premiered in 1953 and centered on a group of four down-on-their-luck European men who are hired by an American oil company to drive two trucks loaded with nitroglycerine. The film won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival – with Christopher Nolan later saying that it strongly inspired Dunkirk. Exorcist director William Friedkin remade the film in 1977 under the name Sorcerer. 

The 2024 remake, directed by French director Julien Leclercq, follows a similar premise and credits Clouzot as a co-writer. The cast includes Franck Gastambide, Alban Lenoir, Ana Giradot, Sofiane Zermani, Bakary Diombera, and Alka Matewa.

Despite reaching the no. 1 spot, the film currently sits at a 29% Critic rating and a 17% Audience score.

"As an action-thriller, Netflix's new Wages of Fear remake is solid. Some well-executed chases and shootouts (yes, shootouts) and it reinterprets a few of the classic sequences in clever ways. But it lacks the original's emotional and thematic core, and most of its tension," one viewer tweeted.

"Playing chicken with the desert, post-colonial corruption, and nitro. The highs are wonderful, and the lows are pretty tedious. There's so many aesthetic and narrative possibilities that go unrealized. Should have been a series," wrote another.

"This Wages is a passable-enough timewaster filled with 2-D characters, a few relatively enjoyable action set pieces and an emotional arc that never gets much traction," one critic review said.

Hideo Kojima even weighed in on the film, writing: "I watched the Netflix remake (French production) of The Wages of Fear. It is different from both the historical masterpiece by Clouzot and the Friedkin masterpiece. The setting and everything is different [...] The pivotal situation of physical obstacles (avoid shaking) is not utilized very well. The worldview is also very Death Stranding or Mad Max-like, as it runs through deserts and rocky mountains."

The Wages of Fear is streaming on Netflix now. For more, check out our list of the best Netflix movies to watch right now.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.