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Extraordinary cinematograph is a highlight of this film and one gets glimpses of watercolor smudged barren streets of Paris in the winter that are gorgeous. This film has its flaws but they are too much of a distraction. Most jarring is the obvious use of models during a very tense scene on the train.
A stunning stand out in the film is Valerie Wilson as Gaby a transvestite who is a stool pidgin for Delon. Touching she is and there is the intriguing undertow of the possibility of romance between the cop and the cross dresser. I am never quite convinced that Delon is merely using her attraction to him to his advantage. Wilson is wonderful in the role, a rare un-judging look at a denizen of this sub-culture.
Delon is Delon, which in my opinion is simply great. Fascinating to watch. Catherine Deneuve is little more that window dressing but a cool dish for the eyes non-the less. The real surprise in the film is Richard Crenna. He looks to be speaking his own lines in French and gives a nuanced wonderful performance as the head of the crime gang. He is utterly watchable and after a few moments you forget he is an American actor in a French film.
Over all "Un Flic" or as it is called here "Dirty Money" is a fun ride for fans of the heist genre. And on a final note, the last shots of the film are raw and haunting.
Melville made noirs that are haunting, entertaining, and suspenseful.he really understood what made the Hollywood noirs so good, and he adapted these insights into his own unique vision. Dirty Money is replete with big American cars, hats, and trench coats. It is not the Red Circle, but it is pretty darned good.
Deneuve says nothing, but has never been more beautiful.
Maybe Richard Crenna's finest performance. This and Body Heat. (Great scene: washing up on the train.)
And something I've never seen before: after Crenna washes up, he robs a blond-haired heavy of his stash. Normally the heavy would be one-dimensional, just the heavy whose stash is robbed. But Melville does more: he give 30 seconds to the guy, who, after coming to, sees he's been robbed and knows how badly he's screwed up. It's the most human 30 seconds in the film. Extraordinary.
It opens with the most beautiful bank robbery I've ever seen on film. Melville orchestrates such an elegant gloom; his use of the elements and natural light is remarkable. I was mesmorized immediately and stayed that way throughout most of the movie.
Then came the train heist.
I watched with a friend, and our post-discussion centered directly on how poorly this fairly large chunk of the film was executed. "The train reminded me of the special effects I used to enjoy on Mister Roger's Neighborhood," said my companion. I could only wince and nod. The train was obviously fake, but worse than that was the tiny helicopter hovering overhead. It had the sort of prop strings a VCR would pick up.
(We fabricated a theory about the difficulty of filming this at night because a real helicopter is shown landing in the daylight the following morning. Perhaps this was the problem?)
I hate to pick this movie apart, and I don't mean to deter someone from watching it, but in my opinion this was awkward enough to interrupt the flow of a gorgeous film, hence my three-star rating. Please keep in mind, Dirty Money was filmed in 1972, not 1952. I found the bump unforgivable.
If you're not bothered with this, by all means, buy the movie. The acting is wonderfully calculated and stoic; a glorious Melville constant, from what I hear. Fantastic cars everywhere. Softly resonating street lights pulsing along the Paris cityscape.
...and nobody slaps like Alain Delon.
There are still some treasures here.
- t -
9 July, 2010
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ONLY THE FRENCH CAN BLEND POLICE ACTION WITH A LITTLE GLAMOR..GOOD LOOKING WOMENPublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love Alain Delon ... the actors were great (all)... You have to go back years to understand! If you are young ... I do not think you will like it!Published 8 months ago by coca-aimee
I purchased this dvd wanting to see a film with the beautiful Catherine D.in a film noir . I was pleasantly surprised while reading the Product Description (format,length,... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jf
Anyone at all familiar with Melville should see this wonderful movie. Almost as stripped and unflinching as Le Samourai and maybe a tad less self conscious.Published 22 months ago by S. Shearsby