Monday, 7 June 2010

Rififi (Du Rififi Chez les Hommes) [1955]


Though released in the same year as another memorable French caper film, Bob Le Flambeur, American expat Jules Dassin’s Rififi was diametrically opposite to the delicious Jean-Pierre Melville film. Where the former was light-hearted and stylish, the latter was tense and bleak – more akin to its American counterparts The Asphalt Jungle and The Killing. When world-weary and ageing former convict is given the idea of a neat job by his pals, you know there’s trouble waiting for them. They, along with an Italian safe-cracker, exquisitely plan and rob a near-impregnable jewelry shop – the half-hour long heist sequence, shown in meticulous detail, is a display of dazzling audacity – only to be undone by a moment of human weakness. Soon enough there’s the Italian (played by Dassin himself) breaking the most sacred rule among criminals, that you don’t rat on your friends, followed by kidnap, gang violence and murder, and culminating, not unexpectedly, in a fatalistic ending commensurate with the school of filmmaking it belongs to. Boasting of great set-pieces, not least of all being the classic robbery sequence, the lusciously shot film also forms a hard-boiled ode to Paris, anything but the City of Lights if this landmark, doom-laden film noir were to go by.









Director: Jules Dassin
Genre: Crime Thriller/Film Noir/Heist Film/Gangster
Language: French
Country: France

8 comments:

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Sam Juliano said...

"Though released in the same year as another memorable French caper film, Bob Le Flambeur, American expat Jules Dassin’s Rififi was diametrically opposite to the delicious Jean-Pierre Melville film. Where the former was light-hearted and stylish, the latter was tense and bleak – more akin to its American counterparts The Asphalt Jungle and The Killing."

Aye Shubhajit, a critical point of differentiation, and a deft capsulr consideration of a masterpiece of cinema, surely one of Dassin's most celebrated films. Certainly it's on a level with the other film noir treasure, NIGHT AND THE CITY. In addition to the heist sequence, it featured a highly competent cast that somehow manages to make Tony and his gang an almost likeable, if ultimately tragic, group. And it's absolutely a doom-laden noir and a hard-boiled ode to Paris.

I feel like watching this film again tonight after reading this!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. That's some appreciation for me friend :) Well, to be honest, I liked Dassin's Night & the City more than Rififi. But comparisons aside, I agree with you that the cast does play a huge role in making their characters likable despite the fact that they're anti-heroes at best and hardened crooks at worst. The little rebuttal that Jo gets from his wife regarding growing up poor vis-a-vis being tough guys, that sure was one hell of an encapsulation of the entire bunch for me. Thanks again Sam.

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Viagra Online said...

incredible post! this french movie is so enjoyable. I wonder if you have more similar movies to this one .

Anonymous said...

The movie LE SAMOURAI by Jean-Pierre Melville is a remake of an earlier french movie I seen when I was younger does anybody know the name of that movie.


Dan

Shubhajit said...

Le Samourai, to my knowledge, wasn't a remake of any film. Rather, quite a few films have been influenced quite by it.