Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Day of the Jackal (1973)

Director: Fred Zinnemann

Starring: Edward Fox & Michael Lonsdale

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: The Jackal spent 71 days,56 minutes thinking a bullet into the brain of de Gaulle

Plot: A French paramilitary group disgusted with Pres. Charles de Gaulle's decision to free French Algeria plans de Gaulle's assassination in this taut political thriller, based on Frederick Forsyth's novel. To carry out their task, the group hires a British hit man known only as "The Jackal" (Edward Fox). But soon the plan is uncovered by French police, who send investigator Lebel (Michel Lonsdale) to sniff out the Jackal's trail.

My Rating: 9/10

Would I watch it again? You bet your sweet assassin I would!

If you aren't familiar with actor Edward Fox, just watch this film and you'll never forget. He owns this role. He's as charming as he is dangerous. His Jackal is a ruthless professional who does what it takes to get the job done. He's so likable that you don't want him to fail, as grim as that sounds.

Forget the 90s remake, this is the real deal. It's nearly two and a half hours of nail-biting suspense that will have you on the edge of your seat until the final seconds. Does he finish the job? You'll have to see to find out.

The acting across the board is top notch. Michael Lonsdale is Fox's foil on the other side of the law who has the unenviable task of finding an assassin whose identity & plot they don't know. All he has is the word, Jackal. Lonsdale, with over 200 film credits, is best known as the villain in the Bond picture, MOONRAKER (1979) (GREAT performance in a fun movie).

Through and through, seeing how these men (one alone and the other with a team) operate and adapt is fascinating. The actors beautifully handle their roles as men who are constantly thinking about every possible move - much like in a chess match (you don't see those guys slagging off.)

I can't recommend this one enough. You may find the lack of music (outside of the opening piece by Georges Delerue, it's nothing but source music until the end) and the lack of dialogue in spots to be off-putting, but I can guarantee its contribution to the film will pay off in spades.

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