HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Cercle Rouge, Le Nobody gets out alive
Year: 1970
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand, Paul Crauchet, Paul Amiot, Pierre Collet, André Ekyan, Jean-Pierre Posier, François Périer, Yves Arcanel, René Berthier, Jean-Marc Boris, Jean Champion, Yvan Chiffre
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 2 votes)
Review: Ex-con Corey (Alain Delon) aims to settle the score with the crime boss who stole his girlfriend. To that end Corey recruits escaped convict Vogel (Gian Maria Volontè) and alcoholic ex-cop-turned-precision marksman Jansen (Yves Montand) to pull off a major jewel heist at Paris’ prestigious Place Vendôme. But the police, led by the determined Commissioner Mattei (André Bourvil) are on their trail…

Jean-Pierre Melville had been making classy crime thrillers for years before the superb Le Samurai (1967) won him international acclaim. After the wartime resistance thriller Army of Shadows (1969), Melville returned to his beloved gangster genre with the hugely ambitious Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle). Armed with a precise plot, an all-star cast and superb photography by Henri Decaë, to say nothing of the director’s own virtuoso technique, the film became Melville’s biggest commercial success. Le Cercle Rouge encapsulates Melville’s key qualities as an auteur: his passion for “absolute cinema”, his love of American culture, and the humane yet profoundly pessimistic outlook derived from his experiences in the French Resistance during the Second World War.

“All men are guilty”, says the Inspector General (Paul Amiot) who believes crime resides inside all of us, waiting to arise. Unlike his later imitators, Melville is not a sentimentalist when it comes to criminals. Nevertheless, the laconic camaraderie between his philosophising gangsters is more affecting than the efforts of the cold-hearted cops out to apprehend them. Three powerhouse performances propel the film: steely-eyed Alain Delon, brutal-yet-oddly-moral wild card Gian Maria Volontè (who replaced the unavailable Jean-Paul Belmondo and clashed with the notoriously authoritarian director), and a haggard, haunted Yves Montand. So unlike his usual suave self. Strange to think that same year, Montand was singing and dancing opposite Barbara Streisand in Vincente Minnelli’s On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.

However, the most interesting performance comes from André Bourvil, or simply Bourvil as he was known to his many fans. Bourvil was a comic actor with a string of hit comedies under his belt before producer Robert Dorfmann persuaded him to replace the departing Lino Ventura (another casualty of Melville’s temper tantrums). As the dogged, yet conversely cat-loving police commissioner, Bourvil displays a remarkably taciturn cruel streak, although sadly this was to be his final film role. He died only a few weeks before the film’s release in November, 1970.

Melville borrowed the iconography of the Hollywood gangster film, but set them in a mythically stylised world where the existential turmoil only alluded to in American noir was writ large. His joy in the mechanics of cinema counteracts the pessimism of the narrative. Each set-piece is impeccably crafted with stellar imagery: the wide open spaces that mirror Corey’s existential void; the show-stopping dance numbers with surreally-attired chorus girls; Jansen hallucinating his bed is crawling with spiders, lizards and rats; then later firing a needle-thin bullet through a keyhole. The robbery itself is executed with silent precision and cinematic panache, with none of the clichés associated with heist movies. Nobody panics, throws a hissy fit or lets greed get the better of them, but everything unravels anyway. Such is the doomed world these desperate men inhabit.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3171 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: