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Friday, May 23, 2008


With semi-classics as fine as GRISBI & CASQUE D’OR, it’s a frustrating to have so little of Jacques Becker available to us. His last film is based on the tru-life prison break of five well delineated inmates. Initially, it holds your attention mainly thru the unusual routines of French prison life, detailed with typical Becker verisimilitude. But his workmanlike plainness, adding detail to detail, builds considerable power. Becker allows only mere hints of backstory on the men, which abstracts genre cliches into something mythic & lets him lead us inexorably to one of the most terrific "reveal" shots in cinema history. Superbly acted and intensely believable; stay with this one and don’t you dare blink.

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