Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1972 - UN FLIC or A COP, Melville's last film

Jean Pierre Melville's final crime film before his heart attack at age 55 is kind of a letdown after his previous 4 films.  Un Flic has individually good and great scenes but story wise doesn't hang together very well. 

Continuing his fascination with American crime and gangster films, Melville appears to be going for a film where the cop isn't really much better than the gangster he is pursuing. The police inspector is about as ruthless as the criminals.

 Melville's interest in staging elaborate heists is really apparent in this film.  His bank robbery at the beginning of the film is a mini masterpiece in film making.  Later in the film, Melville stages another robbery on a moving train that is almost overly obsessive in it's detail.  This sequence isn't as effective because of the poor models and miniatures and it's obviously shot in a studio. 

The cast is kind of an international mash up.  Alain Delon is very good as the creepy emotionless cop.  Richard Crenna seems to be some sort of stand in or symbol for all the American like gangsters that Melville had been making films about in France for years.  This time Melville actually used an actual American actor.   Catherine Denevue doesn't really bring anything to the film and as usual looks like some sort of unreal science fiction creation. 

Probably not the film Melville was hoping for, Un Flic is a decent well made crime film, not really up to the standards of some of his previous films.

However, Un Flic is a good film to go out on for a director with a pretty impressive list of films.

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