Saturday, 11 February 2012
The French Connection 
The French Connection, with its gritty, visceral and action-packed tale of two unconventional, no-nonsense New York city cops taking the drug mafias down through their doggedness, craftiness and courage, became one of the most influential American movies of the 70’s and provided the template for many such buddy-cop action films to follow in later decades. However, what separated it from most of its imitators were its in-your-face display of brutality, its hard-edged realism in its depiction of the Big Apple and the ensuing grime and grunge, and its bleak and fatalistic finale (as opposed to happy endings where everything gets tied together properly). The two police detectives in this film, viz. Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider), were the classic angry cop/cool cop duo and their contrasting personalities provided a major drive for the story. The movie was shot in a near cinema verite style – the visuals are completely bereft of any form of stylizations, while the narrative too is suitably jagged and rough to complement the film’s proceedings, and its on-location shots provided the kind of portrayal of the city that was anything but romanticized. And not to forget, the movie comprised of one of the most spectacular and iconic chase sequences where Doyle, oblivious of the safety of civilians, makes a mad dash in a forcibly acquired car while trailing an elevated train with which a hired killer is trying to escape. The film is well enacted and very well paced, too.
Director: William Friedkin
Genre: Crime Thriller/Action/Police Detective Film