Monday, 9 December 2013

The French Connection

The French Connection, 1971
Directed by William Friedkin
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 5
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing

The French Connection is a classic drug bust movie. 2 Cops, working in the Narcotics Bureau, stumble upon a drug smuggling job in New York. While Doyle and Russo don't seem to have the best record behind them, they are convinced they've stumbled upon something huge and put surveillance on a newsstand diner. Meanwhile, a Frenchman named Alain Charnier, is planning to smuggle $32 million worth of pure heroine into the United States in the car of his unsuspecting friends and french TV Star Henri Devereaux. And while it seems that Doyle and Russo, by chance, have stumbled onto this massive drug drop, they are determined to catch the criminals, even if Charnier always seems one step ahead. 

This movie, to me, felt like a classic drug bust film. It did feel overly different than others I've seen in the genre, but whether that because so many films have come out styling after this film and other likes it, I'm not sure. 

The movie's length is perfect for it's story. Like so many movies that win Best Picture, they sometimes seem much longer than they should be, and thus hinder my view on them. At 104 minutes, The French Connection is tightly woven, and perfectly paced. There's nothing that doesn't contribute to the story, and I think the movie really benefits from that. 

The acting is solid, though I didn't find anything particularly noteworthy. It's filmed in classic 70's style. And, of course, the car chase is the best car chase scene I've watched yet. It's completely thrilling, as Doyle is chasing a sniper in his car, while the sniper is above his, riding the subway and making sure the subway isn't stopping. It's filmed uniquely, and has some amazing shots. It's not longer than it should be, and is exciting every minute. This is the most standout part of the film, and, to me, what it's most remembered for. And personally, it bumps the film's rating a little higher for me. Had the car chase not been as good, I would probably have rated this a little lower. 

This film was solidly made, though is another example of how filmmaking has changed. Films like this nowadays always include young stars, with good chemistry between the two cops, with lots of "witty" dialgoue and a lot more car chase scenes, and is action-packed. While there is definitely action in this film, it's a bit more subdued than most modern films, and the dialogue a little more dry, the pace a little more slow-moving with the majority of it being surveillance. However, this film was enjoyable, if not overly fantastic. 

Acting- 7.5/10   
Directing- 8/10   
Screenplay- 7.5/10   
Music – 8/10  
"The look"- 8/10   
Entertaining- 7/10   
Emotional Connection- 7/10   
Rewatchability- 7/10   
Did I like It?- 7.5/10   
"Total Package"**- 7.5/10     

Total: 75/100 

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