Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rififi (1955)

Director: Jules Dassin

Starring: Jean Servais, Carl Mohner, Robert Manuel, Janine Darcey

More info: IMDb

Tagline: "Rififi"...means Trouble!

Plot: After five years in prison, Tony le Stéphanois meets his dearest friends Jo and the Italian Mario Ferrati and they invite Tony to steal a couple of jewels from the show-window of the famous jewelry Mappin & Webb Ltd, but he declines. Tony finds his former girlfriend Mado, who became the lover of the gangster owner of the night-club L' Âge d' Or Louis Grutter, and he humiliates her, beating on her back and taking her jewels. Then he calls Jo and Mario and proposes a burglary of the safe of the jewelry. They invite the Italian specialist in safes and elegant wolf Cesar to join their team and they plot a perfect heist. That was the easy part.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes!

Excellent French film noir. I'm officially a huge fan of Dassin. Of the six films he directed from 1947 to 1955, I've seen five and they're all very, very good. The man certainly knew how to quietly build tension and then let it snap with devastating results. These aren't happy films; they're the harsh reality of broken dreams.

The heist itself takes a while to get to (just under the halfway mark of the film) and the job takes about twenty minutes of screen time with very little dialogue. The sweat dripping off their eager and frightened foreheads says everything you need to know.

What happens after the heist is pure gold. It's solid suspense. And when the shit hits the fan, just hope you're nowhere near the screen. It's damn good!

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