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Sunday, November 23, 2014

LE COMPLOT / THE CONSPIRACY (1973)

Well-cast political thriller about a handful of disgruntled ultra-right military officers suffering thru a sort of macho French/Algerian post-partum depression. They try to get over it by working up a secret plan to free their figurehead general from jail and hopefully rouse public opinion to their lost cause; all while police & military forces try not to step on each others’ toes long enough to uncover the conspiracy & arrest the leaders. A near farcical element hangs over these tragic doings, as wishful thinking, incompetence, self-delusion and collateral damage spill out on both sides. If only writer/director RenĂ© Gainville saw it, taking advantage of the possibilities in the material with enough style to gauge the difference between the artless and the inept.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: The story is something of an unofficial prequel to Fred Zinnemmann’s exemplary DAY OF THE JACKAL/’73 about an assassination attempt on French President Charles de Gaulle released just two months later.

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