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Army of Shadows: The Films of Jean-Pierre Melville: “Un Flic” (1972) ★★★★


French cinema is so rich and full of little but very important nuances that you hope that there was another world where each country with its history of cinema is like a little planet spinning graciously around France. But then, and you will have a point when saying that Italian Cinema is as delightful and gorgeous as its neighbor country, however, if we are talking about Jean-Pierre Melville’s movies, then you know everything else should be forgotten for a little while…

A perfect robbery planned on a stormy day turns into a disastrous hurricane that ends the guard’s life and leaves one of Marc Albouis’ robbers wounded. Still having an opportunity to escape justice, a gang formed by Simon(Richard Crenna) who led the robbery must find a way to calm the noise down that comes from police commissaire Edouard Colemane (Alain Delon) who happens to be his good friend. In the meantime, Colemane has his own, sometimes harsh, method of seeking the truth and finds Cathy, (Catherine Deneuve) Simon’s trusted ally as somebody who can help the commissaire to close the case before it gets more complicated…

Speaking of complication and even its implication, Simon’s friend, as you will find soon, Paul Weber and Louis Costa assist Simon as much as they can, but having a wounded and in a critical condition friend who was shot during the robbery slows them down. Knowing that they won’t be able to go further, they decide to find a hospital where they won’t be able to find the trace back to the robbery and treat Marc as a regular patient. And they have in their hands the loot from the robbery that they want to use as an asset in their expanded plan to turn it into a more spectacular heist.

Spectacular is Melville’s directorial approach. For instance, when Colemane is called to the crime scene where an unnamed woman is killed, the camera navigates to Colemane’s face and then to the victim, almost like Colemane tried to ask questions from someone who no longer can speak. Those kind of scenes are plenty in Un Flic, which you might find exquisite.

That said, Un Flic is a simple film noir that takes you right to the Golden Ages of Hollywood set in France. This movie, back then and even now is an excellent way of sending regards to the beloved time that had inspired Melville to concentrate on crime movies, friendship, betrayal and dilemmas in the case of Un Flic, Coleman will have to face. Having mentioned the cast is an additional point, however, just only hearing the names of its stellar cast will make any French movie lover to re-watch this masterpiece again, but if you have not, maybe this time is the right time for you to check this out.

Bank robbery in small town ends with one of the robbers being wounded. The loot from the robbery is just an asset for the even more spectacular heist. Simon, gang leader and Paris night club owner, must also deal with police comissaire Edouard Colemane, who happens to be his good friend.A gang formed by Simon, Paul Weber, Louis Costa and Marc Albouis heist a remote bank during a stormy afternoon. However Marc is seriously wounded and they leave him in a clinic after hiding the money in a sophisticated scheme. Meanwhile the cold Police Inspector Edouard Coleman is investigating the murder of a woman and his informer, the travesty Gaby, tells about a shipment of heroin carried by the mule Suitcase Matthew by the train to Lisbon. Then Coleman heads to a nightclub owned by Simon, who is his friend, to meet his mistress Cathy. When Simon learns that the police force is tracking down the wounded thief in hospital and clinics and the dragnet will certainly find Marc, he goes with the gang and Cathy to kill him. Then Simon plots the robbery of Matthew’s drug In the train using a helicopter. When Coleman intercepts Matthew, he does not find the drug shipment and believes that Gaby is not giving good information to him. But when Simon discover that Marc Albouis is dead, he connects him to Louis Costa and then to the unemployed middle-aged banker Paul Weber and Simon. They bug Simon’s telephone and Soleman heads to confront his friend.

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