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Friday, June 6, 2008

UN FLIC (1972)

French helmer Jean-Pierre Melville’s last pic pales in comparison with the series of near-masterpieces that preceded it. (Pale indeed, even the cinematography has a washed out look.) It’s one more crime caper (bank robbery, train robbery) and it feels phoned in. Richard Crenna, of all people, leads a slackly uninteresting gang of thieves as poor Alain Delon sits off to the side as the titular detective; he’s barely in the picture, figuratively & literally. As you’d expect, Melville pulls off some meticulously staged dialogue-free scenes, but the big set piece (a robbery on a speeding train) is hopelessly compromised by F/X miniatures out of a Tinker Toy set. Catherine Deneuve is around to look glamorous and even gets away with killing a man, but you’ll hardly notice.

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