Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Un Flic
Alternate title: A Cop
France/Italy, 1972. Euro International Film, Oceania Produzioni Internazionali Cinematografiche. Screenplay by Jean-Pierre Melville. Cinematography by Walter Wottitz. Produced by Robert Dorfmann. Music by Michel Colombier. Production Design by Theobald Meurisse. Costume Design by Colette Baudot. Film Editing by Patricia Neny.
The great Jean-Pierre Melville ended his career with a cop caper as classy and exciting as the best in his oeuvre. It opens with a bank robbery that goes slightly awry when one of the members of the bad guys is wounded; in gathering the loot, we learn that the robbery was simply the setup for a far more spectacular heist on a train to be led by chief criminal and night club owner Richard Crenna. The other side of the law is never far behind, and in this case we have Le Samourai‘s star Alain Delon appearing as the police officer who is always one step behind the bad guys and also connected to the femme fatale (Catherine Deneuve) who works at Crenna’s nightclub. Many of the connections between characters are tenuous at best (particularly the appearance of Deneuve, who isn’t given enough to do), and the strength of the plotting is not as strong as in Melville’s best, but there’s still a glorious sheen to it that betrays his handiwork. The gorgeous gun-metal blue imagery and the long, terrific sequences without dialogue are snappy and its action holds you until the end.