Le Cercle Rouge Review

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Noir-ish urban Western which sees Jean-Pierre Melville bond three desperate men in crime.


Howard Hawks would be proud of the professionalism and ingrained sense of honour displayed by the trio enmeshed in this existential crime thriller.

Each is being pursued - Alain Delon by the mob, Gian Maria Volonte by detective Bourvil, and bent cop Yves Montand by the demons that drove him to drink - and their alliance to rob a jewellery store is one of convenience.

Yet such is the air of doomed inevitability that pervades this noir-ish urban Western that the bonds between them only strengthen in the face of club owner Franþois Perier's treachery.

The patron saint of maverick moviemakers, Jean-Pierre Melville stages the heist with the meticulous rigour of Dassin or Bresson. But he's far more concerned with the psychological state of his anti-heroes, which he explores as much through their iconic props as their coolly dispassionate performances.

A classic cornerstone of the heist genre from a master of the nouvelle vague.