- Note: Blu-ray discs are in a high definition format and need to be played on a Blu-ray player.
Criterion Collection: Le Cercle Rouge [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
Special offers and product promotions
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Customers who bought this item also bought
Alain Delon (The Leopard, Le samouraï) plays a master thief, fresh out of prison, who crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic ex-cop (The Wages of Fear's Yves Montand). The unlikely trio plot a heist, against impossible odds, and then a relentless inspector and their own pasts seal their fates. Le cercle rouge, from Jean-Pierre Melville (Le samouraï, Army of Shadows), combines honorable antiheroes, coolly atmospheric cinematography, and breathtaking set pieces to create a masterpiece of crime cinema.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Melville's films have a certain 'slow' tempo: when it's getting suspenseful the tempo is slowed down so that all movements are followed, instead of speeding up with short cuts which can be said to be more conventional. This is explained in the excellent commentary track with Ginette Vincendeau, extra material which makes this DVD well worth buying.
Some people react negatively to the contemplative tempo, and the fact that there is not much dialogue or real action/violence. Personally I think it is a welcome contrast to other movies. Also, everything is not as clear or explained as is the norm: for example we never learn why Corey is in jail as the movie begins, or why Vogel is hunted by a veritable army of cops. Instead the viewer has to interpret a little bit more why the characters do what they do and so on. The mood (and colors) in the film are muted and may not be to everyone's taste either. That said, this is a movie I have watched two times and will watch again.
The excellent commentary by Vincendeau together with the nice transfer make me want to recommend this Bfi DVD to anyone interested in cinema.
As with most Studio Canal releases, the print quality and sound are of a very high standard. This is the only distributor to have released even a minimally representative selection of Alain Delon's films in subtitled versions in the UK and Le Cercle Rouge can be bought individually or as part of a Jean-Pierre Melville boxset. Well worth buying either or both.
It is to be hoped that Studio Canal will continue to release more Delon films. Many titles are available direct from France, of course, but without English subtitles.
Some Delon films are as yet unavailable anywhere on DVD which is difficult to understand given his longstanding international popularity. Let's hope Studio Canal releases these and other titles in the UK.
Le Cercle Rouge ranks among Melville's best work, this copy is excellent, it deserves five stars.
The worst problem is that it is simply dull, with slow-moving action far too thinly spread over what is a fairly long film; the climactic jewel heist is less exciting than a dental check-up. To make matters worse, the story, such as it is, is simply too implausible and contrived to feel at all involving; how likely is it, for example, that a fugitive gangster would chance to hide in the boot of a car being used by another fugitive gangster? And would any self-respecting criminal really hang onto a very conspicuous vehicle linked to a double killing?
Another weakness is the paper-thin characterisations and the director's odd habit of including strange "plot stubs" that simply fizzle out, leading nowhere and leaving the viewer wondering whether he has missed something. The cinematogrophy is no more than adequate either, with no great use made of various potentially interesting locations.
By all means get this if you have an academic interest in French cinema, but otherwise look elsewhere. Le Pacha, only a couple of years earlier, has all this film's good points and far fewer weaknesses; it's also got that cool Serge Gainsbourg score.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
A gangster film (which Melville was so good at) centred around a robbery near the Ritz in...Read more