Touchez Pas au Grisbi (The Criterion Collection)
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Top Customer Reviews
So this scene is of crucial generic urgency, with rippling consequences for the development of the plot. What Becker films is entirely without urgency or consequence. In complete silence, he follows the middle-aged men as they enter the apartment, sit down, prepare a light supper, eat and talk; Max then gets up, takes out mattresses and pillows for his friend's bed like a good chambermaid, undresses in the bathroom, brushes his teeth, Riton likewise; then they both go to bed. This beautifully understated, intimate and domestic scene does not replace the crime genre, but co-exists in paralell with it, showing what is at stake.
This split defines the movie, from the conflict between older and younger characters (and men and women); between Max's affable respectability and his latent sadism; between bright interiors of oppressive theatrical artifice and dark outdoor locations; between static scenes where nothing much happens and jolting bursts of brutal violence and action. You even find it in the brilliant closing car chase, as thrilling location work intercuts with Hitchcock-style back projection.Read more ›
This movie is not like today's heavy-handed violent gangster movies, but a more elegant and sophisticated presentation that focuses on character development and its themes of loyalty, betrayal, and an adherence to a moral code. Jean Gabin, who plays the urbane and respected criminal Max, is the soul of this movie, presenting Max as charming, stoic, and ruthless. Great detail is given to ordinary tasks, like the serving of a meal, brushing of one's teeth, etc., but the effect, instead of arty, goes to the development of the characters and the portrayal of them as regular folks.
Lest you believe this is a slow talky picture, there are moments of explosive violence that will send a chill through you. Suspense is created through the most effective of methods: by what you don't see and what is filled in by one's own imagination. As the tension mounts in the movie, you will be glued to the screen gripping the arms of your chair with withering anticipation. They don't make 'em like this anymore, neither here nor in Europe. This movie is a fine example of both French cinema before the New Wave, and of the gangster genre.
In any language, TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI means film excellence, especially after the careful, painstaking restoration by Criterion Studios.
The days of gentlemen criminals are long gone. Films such as Scarface (1983), New Jack City (1991), or any of Takashi Miike's violent gangster illustrations depict the new style of gangsters that contemporary society is facing where disloyal and ill-mannered thugs roll in the direction of dough. These films visualize the frightening power money has on people. This could be seen up close in a grotesque manner in the brilliant Maria Full of Grace (2004) where humans are being regarded as pack mules. Touchez Pas Au Grisbi, which was shot over a half century ago, depicts the coming of this new criminal element.
Nostalgia swallows Jacques Becker's crime story about the aging criminal and gentleman Max (Jean Gabin). The story takes place in Paris where Max lives life with a women half his age while spending untold numbers of nights desiring the same meaningless affection from the women seeking their way into men's wallets. The many visits to the night clubs have led Max to discover that he has grown old, and many of the people around him are older. The life he once desired is no longer as appealing, as he decides that he wants to return home early.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The perfectly understated, well-acted, and well-directed French gangster film.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
This movie is a French gangster film about a thief who has pulled off his last job. He wants to retire, but because of mistakes made by a trusted colleague, he can't get out of the... Read morePublished on April 28, 2014 by B. Adducchio
A Classic of cinema. It is in french, but everyone understands it because it is universal. It is a perfect gangster movie that shows reality of life. Just great.Published on November 26, 2013 by D. Johnson
I watched this to be honest with no expectations. Having watched Rififi, which I particularly enjoyed for its excitement and realism, and having watched Bob le Flambeur, which I... Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by T. S. C.
A rare great standout foreign (Euro) film. This is maybe the best Euro film I've ever seen. The story moves along well though slower than USA films. Read morePublished on September 3, 2012 by Jack Bert
Hey, I have been touting crime noir films for the past couple of years so why not review, as here with Jean Gabin's 1954 Touchez Pas au Grisbi, a French crime noir in honor of,... Read morePublished on May 29, 2012 by Alfred Johnson
As Truffaut stated, this is really more a film about friendship and aging than about gangsters.
Jean Gabin is brilliant as Max, the elegant, dignified underworld leader... Read more
"Touchez Pas au Grisbi," ("Don't Touch the Loot,") (1954). In another triumph of classic French cinema, Jacques Becker's tight - 94 minutes--black and white action/ crime... Read morePublished on April 13, 2011 by Stephanie De Pue
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