Wednesday, January 21

Le Cercle Rouge - Jean-Pierre Melville (1970)

"Part of the genius of Jean-Pierre Melville was that he was able to take the formal elements of the crime film and put a thoroughly individual stamp on them -- his best films take the stuff of a thousand grade-B thrillers and invest them with a singular intelligence and quiet cool. On the surface, Le Cercle Rouge concerns two criminals thrown into a slightly uneasy alliance with a corrupt and alcoholic ex-cop to pull off a heist, but in Melville's hands this becomes a story about kindred spirits brought together through chance and unforeseen circumstance; their lives on the other side of the law have as much to do with their own personal sense of ethics and honor as those of the lawmen who struggle to track them down. Melville's clean, elegant framing of shots and his appreciation of the value of silence gives this picture a spare but satisfying feel quite different from most European crime films, and the subtle but sharply etched performances of Alain Delon, Gian Maria Volonté, and Yves Montand are the ideal embodiment of Melville's notion that less is more. ..."
Roger Ebert
YouTube: Alain Delon Le cercle rouge

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