9 March 2013 | vostf
Tense plot but loose execution
Basically the script was good material but not challenged enough by a young Yves Boisset, who could actually feel overwhelmed/content with the dream team he had to work with.
First the hero is too much of a negative schmuck. It would have changed absolutely nothing in the plot to rewrite this character as a little more of a good guy with dark undertones. It is fine to have the big shots disparage him as an inconsistent loser but, movie-wise, it is better to have a slightly too idealistic a character than a downright bitter failed writer.
Then the other characters are quite good, but they lack one good scene, one devastating line to nail the storyline. As such L'Attentat feels more like the pedestrian telling of a politically-charged story where they have cameos. Too bad to have such a cast, comprising J-L Trintignant, M. Piccoli, Ph. Noiret, Gian Maria Volonte, J. Bouise, B. Cremer, Jean Seberg and Roy Sheider, only to have them gently speaking their lines, without their inner genius ever surfacing from it all.
In the end, this early 70s conspiracy flick fails where most movies in the genre will succeed: here lie too many visible parts of the conspiracy, the chain of command is too obvious, and thus it lacks the sense of fatality of one fine guy pitted against obscure and unassailable forces.