Friday, January 14, 2011

le cercle rouge

and, despite appearances, i'm no professional...


corey (alain delon) leaves prison, the morning after a guard tells him about a possible job, which might see him back inside if it goes wrong. after settling some business in marseilles, he sets off on the road to paris. meanwhile vogel (gian maria volonte) is being escorted cross-country by mattei (andre bourvil), from whom he manages to escape and, in an attempt to slip through the police dragnet which forms swiftly, he climbs into the boot of a car at a roadside restaurant. it just so happens that the car belongs to corey and, when two such characters get together, it isn't long before they're planning a job. the job...

and so it begins... well, actually, that's probably the first thirty minutes of this underplayed, minimalistic heist movie. it's a slightly odd film, which just kinda flows along, it is smooth, relaxed and seems to glide through its two and a bit hours. delon is his blue eyed, handsome, cool self, whilst volonte is his only slightly more rugged foil. on the flipside, to these two swarthy, smouldering types, is bourvil's, almost clinically, uncool detective: who, seemingly being mocked by melville, wears a very similar long, beige overcoat, ala delon, but his, prim, buckled exterior just looks silly when compared with his adversary...

still, without being overblown or flashy, melville creates a glorious, engaging and tense affair. i suppose the epitome of melville's restraint is illustrated by the heist itself, which lasts almost thirty minutes and, dialogue free, is executed in almost total silence, yet draws the viewer in completely.

cracking stuff.

the dvd is £5.79 from play.com

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