This list was inspired by a conversation on the March 2nd/9th editions of Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo's film review, where…
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.
Were it not for a couple glaring, uh, budgetary limitations (I hate to be the type of person to complain about production value but it really does represent a grasp for Melville's reach to exceed a couple times, and not in a fun way), this would probably be my favorite Melville film. The movie's central train-based set-piece is a marvel for his signature patiently-constructed suspense (maybe Melville was a little too patient with the special effects people, OK I'll shut up about it now), all the more so for its seemingly taking place in real time.
The cinematography is as silvery and steel-cold as you could possibly wish from a nihilistic crime drama, with some really stunning camerawork (watch the…
Please note this is a review of a movie, not a law enforcement officer. Please see my account at Blotterboxd for police reviews
The world as seen through the blue eyes of Alain Delon's frighteningly cold detective. The criminals are introduced as fedora wearing silhouettes in a car, a powerfully mysterious image that sets the quiet, cool tone of everything that follows. My favorite scene is a very long take of a man changing clothes and hiding evidence as part of an elaborate train heist. I know this is the kind of thing that drives some people (hi Matt!) crazy with boredom, but to me it shows such a respect for criminal enterprises as a skilled trade, as labor.
Faisons attention là.
Jean-Pierre Melville's final film, and the second one of his that I've seen after the fine Le Cercle Rouge, was an unexpected slog that only really felt like half a film.
In fact, it's one of those frustrating films that isn't even close to being 'bad' but in fact seems completely aware of how great it could be. However, living almost entirely off the back of two wonderfully shot and constructed robberies, Un Flic then leaves the rest of its running time to get by off the back of half-developed relationships, incomplete exchanges and encounters, and irrelevant plot points.
That is really why this felt like half a film. It felt like it should have been at…
And with this, my Jean-Pierre Melville marathon comes to an end. Un Flic may not be the best way to end a memorable career that included such gems as Army of Shadows, Le Doulos and Le Cercle Rouge, as it just feels like more of the same for Melville: Bunch of guys pull off bank heist, a cop starts hunting them down and they plan one last big score.
The big heist itself isn't especially original or unique and the use of miniatures is screamingly obvious at times, which takes you out of the movie. It drags along a bit towards the end, but Un Flic is ultimately an acceptable (if uninspired) final entry into a very good director's filmography.
Melville's final film... i almost want to call it his TO THE WONDER, despite not having seen TO THE WONDER. this isn't exactly the forum for vetting the unfounded bullshit that wanders through my mind during a movie. Melville seems a bit caught up in the inertia of his own craft, or maybe i'm just put off by such scattered messiness from a man best known for fetishizing precision. here he again explores the moral equivalency of a world so cold that i can't imagine a trench coat ever managed to keep someone warm. Catherine Deneuve with a pistol clutched to her ribs helps finds Melville's jazz noir stylings already in the process of being reborn as kitsch, charmingly helped along by silly analog effects (like the helicopter heist, which disguises its model work about as well as the opening scenes of THE LADY VANISHES some 4 decades prior).
Such beautiful heist scenes, with one that is the centerpiece of the film and possibly shot in real time. Set pieces that play out brilliantly. Great, low-key acting from Delon, Crenna and Deneuve. And at least one real helicopter. Actually, definitely only one real helicopter.
A little undercooked, even in style, but this is still a fairly engrossing, slow affair from Jean Pierre Melville with another great performance from Alain Delon. It never seems to come together as a story but it's made up of great moments, like Catherine Deneuve dressing up as a nurse in order to assassinate someone. Richard Crenna makes for a soft, almost bland villain but Delon's complete lack of emotion gives this enough of an edge. The heist scene on the train is bizarre due to the special effects they chose to use, but it adds a certain surreal charm to the whole thing.
Good classic Melville. Not his best I've seen but I feel like I never give his movies the complete attention they deserve when I finally watch them. A good, cold, gritty cops and robbers movie with alot of standout sequences and I'd like to rewatch it again someday.
I don't know entirely why, but stylistically, Melville's films still seem relevant today. He has sequences full of rapid cutting but also isn't afraid to have a several minute shot to build suspense. Melville knows how to build tension with details lesser directors would cut out for being to mundane.
I was a bit torn on Jean-Pierre Melville's Un Flic, but the two exquisite robbery scenes won me over in the end. The story could have definitely used some work, and considering some of Melville's previous work Un Flic pales in comparison. But as the film was expiring on Netflix I wanted to check it out and in the end I'm glad I did.
Intriguing crime story, contains long sequences with no dialogue; full attention is required to sort out (or invent) the subtext behind many interactions.
Unfortunately, also has a 'Team America' style sequence with a model helicopter and train that was really hard to shake.
How many billions of guys' fantasies were subverted when a never hotter Catherine Deneuve put on a nurse's outfit, snuck into dude's hospital room, bent over him in bed, reached down for his. . . IV, and silently. . . killed him?
And Colonel Trautman speaks French? And he locks lips with a never blonder Deneuve? And he jumps out of a helicopter years before John Rambo existed?
This movie crazy. We've all seen more exciting, more impressive crime-suspense-procedurals, but this one will stay close to my heart for its admirable lack of dialogue in long stretches. Melville's anti-verbosity gives way to an abundance of piercing close-ups, chokingly foggy yet eerily empty urban-geo compositions, & meaningful besuited postures that say more than any damnable words ever will.
In conclusion, as a Frenglish-fluent Gene Shalit might say,
"Un flic is un bon flick!"
(not proud of that last bit but I'm publishing it anyway)
Jean-Pierre Melville's final bow, Un flic reteams him with Le Samourai star Alain Delon, but doesn't come close to that film's tightness. It's a bit more scattershot than I've come to expect from Melville, though no less bleak, morally grey, or violent. The old attention to detail is still there, especially in the central train heist, but certain details (the tangential scene with a rather campy gay man, the detail of the lead informant being a transvestite) seem a bit extraneous—unless they are meant to imply Delon's character to be closeted, in which case they don't really do their job. And, really, that wouldn't be especially relevant to his arc, which is mostly about the way police work slowly severs…
- North by Northwest
- The Birds
- The Offence
- The Interview
- Zero Effect
- Out of the Blue
Week six is time for the crime category. Due to its potential similarity with the thriller genre I'm going to…
- The Abominable Dr. Phibes
- The Abominable Snowman
- The Adult Version of Jekyll & Hide
- After Life
- The Ages Of Lulu
Full list of films reviewed in the excellent DVD Delirium Volume 1 book. I've tried my best to make the…