HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Three Men to Kill No good deed goes unpunishedBuy this film here.
Year: 1980
Director: Jacques Deray
Stars: Alain Delon, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Michel Auclair, Pascal Roberts, Lyn Chardonnet, Jean-Pierre Darras, Bernard Le Coq, Pierre Dux, Christian Barbier, Simon Renant, Peter Bonke, Daniel Breton
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: One night, professional gambler Michel Gerfaut (Alain Delon) is on his way to a high-stakes poker game when he happens across a badly injured man in a wrecked car. He takes the man to the hospital and thinks no more about the incident. While on holiday with his girlfriend at sunny Trouville, Gerfaut is traumatised when several attempts are made on his life. He soon discovers that the man he saved died from multiple gunshot wounds and was actually a prominent political figure with ties to the arms industry. Two more men die in similar circumstances. Increasingly paranoid, Gerfaut reaches out to a friend in the police force only to see the latter shot dead in a case of mistaken identity. Realising he is the next target, the gambler goes on the run, risking his life against impossible odds.

Upon the death of thriller and action film specialist Jacques Deray in 2003, several British critics curiously labelled him the French Alfred Hitchcock, a title perhaps more fittingly bestowed upon his contemporaries Henri-Georges Clouzot and Claude Chabrol. Deray debuted as a director at the same time that the Nouvelle Vague became a distinctive force in world cinema but always saw himself as a purveyor of unpretentious entertainment. He was a great tailor of vehicles for some of the biggest stars in French cinema, working eight times with Alain Delon beginning with the sublime psychological thriller La Piscine (1969) and on several films starring the equally iconic Jean-Paul Belmondo, pairing both together to memorable effect in Borsalino (1970) which became one of the biggest box office hits of all time.

However, in the case of Trois hommes a abbatre (Three Men to Kill), “Hitchcockian” really is the perfect phrase to describe the profoundly unsettling manner in which Deray juxtaposes some shockingly brutal violence with the mundane ordinariness of everyday life. The first half of the film masterfully depicts Gerfaut’s mounting paranoia, as he realises someone, somewhere wants him dead for reasons that are initially unfathomable. Especially suspensful is the scene in which Gerfaut is almost drowned by two hitmen only metres away from a crowded beach. After barely escaping with his life, he crawls ashore to be greeted by laughing children. Life goes on, seemingly oblivious to the horrific forces lurking beneath our civilised world.

Adapted from Jean-Patrick Manchette’s celebrated novel “Le Petit Bleu de la Côte Ouest”, Trois hommes a abbatre was such a hit that the producer-star tackled more of the author’s works including his likeable directorial debut For a Cop’s Hide (1981) - where Delon played a down-at-heel ex-cop-turned private eye named Choucas who shares a name with a very similar character here - and Le Choc (1982) both of which proved equally popular with the French audience. Manchette was widely described as the finest French thriller writer of the Seventies and Eighties, though he also wrote comics, children’s books and translated works by Donald E. Westlake, Robert Bloch and, interestingly, Alan Moore’s graphic novel Watchmen. Beginning with Claude Chabrol’s visceral political thriller Nada (1974), Manchette worked extensively as a screenwriter penning the likes of L'Aggression (1975) and The Probability Factor (1976) for director Gérard Pirès, La Guerre des polices (1979) by Robin Davis, Legitime Violence (1982) by Serge Leroy and La Crime (1983) by journalist turned auteur Philippe Labro.

In the case of the Alain Delon thrillers, the scripts were penned by the star himself along with regular collaborator Christopher Frank and in this instance, Deray as well. Critics routinely charged Delon with perverting the liberal politics inherent in Manchette’s work to reflect his own right-wing views. However, the film’s central conceit of an ordinary man victimised by an omniscient, oppressive establishment arguably plays to both sides of the political spectrum. By making the villains arms dealers and politicians, the plot draws a distinction between corporate and political evil and the more romanticised rogue represented by Gerfaut. His key character trait is that he is a gambler, something that plays to the French love of existentialist anti-heroes that struggle against fate. The iconic Delon does not deviate too far from the hard-boiled persona he established decades before through his work with Jean-Pierre Melville but delivers a quirky and engaging performance. Italian starlet Dalila Di Lazzaro, the beautiful “monster” from Flesh for Frankenstein (1973), supplies glamour and gratuitous nudity as Gerfaut’s girlfriend but also proves a smart and resourceful character in her own right.

After a restrained first act, the pace explodes once assassins slay Gerfaut’s buddy Inspector Liethard (Christian Barbier) in a scene foreshadowing Dario Argento’s bullet-through-the-keyhole gag in Opera (1987). Thereafter the villains realise they have messed with the wrong man as Delon reverts to type sparking off a breakneck car chase-cum-shootout and a host of satisfying scenes wherein he puts the fright in these smug, well-heeled murderers. Deray’s sedate style of shooting an action scene has not dated as well as that of his contemporaries but the film is still quite bloody and brutal. Interestingly, the English dubbed version removes the original nihilistic and frankly somewhat unlikely climax (In broad daylight with all those witnesses? Really?) ending the film on a far more quietly ambiguous note more in keeping with Manchette’s novel.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1968 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: