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2 Noir Masterpieces!,
This review is from: Bob Le Flambeur/Un Flic [DVD] (DVD)
This dvd release perfectly exemplifies the austere technique and nuances of the godfather of the nouvelle vague, Jean Pierre Melville, arguably the greatest director to grace the crime thriller genre.
Firstly we have the fifties masterpiece, "Bob le Flambeur". Bob is an amiable character who lives a superfluous lifestyle governed by his fervent passion for gambling. Together with a couple of his close aquainttances he contrives a plan to rob a casino. One of his sincerest friends is Paulo, a sycophantic kid who is totally adorous of Bob and servile to his every need. However, when Bob encourages him to converse with a young lady he has just met, Paulo falls in love and this proves detrimental to the plan. He confides in the girl concerning the plan who accidentally tells a police informer. Stylised but never glorifying the gangster lifestyle, it is easy to discern an austere yet ineffably warm quality in Melville's technique which is most enriching. Though thematically similar to the great film noir American movies of the forties, the texture of the cinematography and overall style and feel of the film is unequivocally French. One of the avante guard examples of cinematic cool, "Bob le flambeur" is one Melvilles finest and an exemplary example of what a crime thriller should be like, unlike nonsensical tosh like "Oceans Eleven".
Although "Bob le Flambeur" is worth the asking price alone, this dvd has another film, "Un flic". Although not as consumate as "Bob le Flambeur", it is still a little masterpiece of filmmaking that forms an integral part of the director's oeuvre. Visually cold and sometimes desolate, yet still stunning, the film is essentially a meditation on the protagonist who is a cop played by Alain Delon, a man who nonchalantly uses police brutality as if it were the norm. The dialogue and photography is spare and the performances effortlessly cool, "Un Flic" was Melville's farewell to the cinema, and an impressive one at that which completed a devestating period in cinema. One dvd, two essential masterpieces.