10 September 2009 | stuka24
Sometimes, the "magic" of cinema seems to take hold of us.
The two main characters are superb. So is cinematography. Everything is "in the dark, humid, without hope". Lanky Lola (1.78 m), while providing the inevitable love interest, is quite gelid and stolid, so her beauty (rain scene!, she awakening chez Lambert!) is not overtly "too much".
Bensoussan is a stupid kid, while Lambert... what a script! This should be required viewing for budding plot writers. He speaks seldomly, bluntly, seemingly without passion, world wearily, like a philosopher who decided to toss the world aside, as "a useless hypothesis". Gradually we get to know his intentions, which are not clear from the beginning (he's a master at deception :)!), but make sense afterwards. Unlike many Hollywood commercial thrillers, that try to be witty and only end up being preposterous. Or "revenge" films alla Stallone and Bronson, without any emotion because there's nothing to "balance" the killing spree.
This is a "cartesian" movie. "Clear and disc tint" ideas. If issued by a "gas station clerk", well, that's the master's disguise!
The Paris we witness is not the postcard's or Bardot's: everything is seedy, "the system" is rotten, like the copper Bauer's synthesis near the end: "There'll always be another one".
The ending is fine! Seldomly had I thought: "this should end right here", and it did.
IMDb reviewers agree on Bruno Nuytten (DP)'s work. Luckily enough, I hadn't read those reviews, and while watching even the first minutes I said: "what a good 'atmosphere'". That's a good work: noticeable even without "knowing it's something important".
Berri doing this shows a hidden potential. Pity he didn't do more of the genre! Maybe he "needed" all this "sun drenched Southern France" to make one "night" film...
I agree with IMDb reviewers like gregory-joulin about its two-part structure, and with Bob Taylor that probably the first part is the best. But I admit it: I felt more with the second. "Plot holes"? Many. But who won't remember the "murder by the small filling station" or the way he swiftly avoids Bauer's questioning. Unassuming, without hesitating, thus lethally. Just like what follows suit...
I liked his "method of interrogation": breaking the mobster's motorbike (not the man). And the way he answers to Bauer on why he was't working: (seeming concerned) "With all that happened, I had to take a few days off".
(About this film) Lambert would just quip: "Watch it".