Combustible Celluloid
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With: Alain Delon, Richard Crenna, Catherine Deneuve, Riccardo Cucciolla, Michael Conrad, Paul Crauchet, Simone Valère, André Pousse, Jean Desailly, Valérie Wilson
Written by: Jean-Pierre Melville
Directed by: Jean-Pierre Melville
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 98
Date: 03/19/2013

Dirty Money (1972)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

A Cop, Un Flic

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Many believe that master French crime filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville (Bob le Flambeur and Le Samourai) had hit his peak long before this, his last film. But Un Flic (released in the U.S. as Dirty Money) plays beautifully with all his trademark silence, grim faces, and gloomy colors. In the film, a detective (Alain Delon) and a bank robber (Richard Crenna) compete for the attention of Catherine Deneuve. The plot doesn't make much sense, but Melville cuts to the core with his steely color treatment; what few colors that do appear seem to emanate from the overwhelming gray. Hardly anyone speaks, most notably during the movie's 20-minute bravura train robbery sequence (in which the robber is dropped onto a moving train via helicopter, performs the robbery and gets back on). Anchor Bay Entertainment's 2001 DVD features a fine transfer, but few extras. Lionsgate released a new DVD in 2008, under the American title. It appears to incorporate the same transfer, although the trailer and biographies from the Anchor Bay edition are not here. And, yes, that's my quote on the back cover!

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