Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Un Flic (1972)

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

Writer: Jean-Pierre Melville

Composer: Michel Colombier

Starring: Alain Delon, Richard Crenna, Catherine Deneuve, Riccardo Cucciolla, Michael Conrad, Paul Crauchet, Simone Valere, Andre Pousse, Jean Desaily, Valerie Wilson

More info: IMDb

Plot: Bank robbery in small town ends with one of the robbers being wounded. The loot from the robbery is just a asset for the even more spectacular heist. Simon, gang leader and Paris night club owner, must also deal with police comissaire Edouard Colemane, who happens to be his good friend.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I LOVE the New Beverly Theater in L.A..  Quentin Tarantino owns the joint and it's the best revival house in town (sadly it's practically the only one in town).  I really miss the Castro Theater in San Francisco where they offer a double feature of old movies almost every night.  Anyway, I haven't seen this picture in a few years and it's always great to catch things like this on the big screen. I'm a HUGE fan of Melville having seen many of his pictures. He really knows how to construct tense crime films.  Sadly, this was his last, but it's still a good one.

The opening bank robbery during a rain storm on a sleepy coastal part of town is intense.  There's barely a word spoken for several minutes and it's a fantastic way to start the picture off.  The other heist (on a train this time) offers lots of suspense and little dialogue.  That sequence takes up a solid 20-30 minutes and it's great.  All of the actors feel reserved since there's not much need for most of them to even speak.  This works will with the film, really well.  The only thing that's likely to take you out of the picture is the obvious use of models during the train raid.  Sometimes they work but when they don't (particularly in the shots with the helicopter) they're just awful.  It's so bad at times that it's hard not to snicker but if you're really into it like me, then you'll be OK but you'll leave the film wondering if, despite the obvious budget constraints, they could have handled it in a better way.  Regardless, UN FLIC (A COP) is a damn fine film from one of the greatest European crime directors.  I strongly urge you to check out any of this crime output.  They won't disappoint.

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