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La Balance Review

Image for La Balance

When a police informer (a 'balance') is murdered in a tough area of Paris, the cops - looking for a replacement - put the squeeze on a local racketeer, Dede (Leotard) and his prostitute girlfriend. They are aware that Dede is out of favour with his mob bosses, and will exploit the situation any way they can.

★★★★★

With its gritty, street-level feel and warts-and-all, anti-heroic cop characters, there are obvious comparisons between Bob Swaim's film and The French Connection. But while celebrated at the time for its realism, this sporadically violent tale of a Parisian plain-clothes unit's exploitation of a pair of informers doesn't pass the test of time as well as Friedkin's movie, trapped somewhat by its very early-'80s stylistics.

WHat do hold up well are the performances. Shot in the - now typical, but then not so - verite style, Leotard and Baye are believable as the pair caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, and the cops - coming across like a particularly rotten branch of The Sweeney, are a reminder of the bad old days.

It's as tough and gritty as it needs to be, but is hamstrung somewhat by its '80s-ness.