A whole lotta spiffy-dressing Frenchmen in spiffy cars, in spiffy digs with spiffy babes, dining in spiffy bistros, sipping spiffy French wine, adds up to a whole lotta spiffy nothing.
Dir. Cédric Jimenez
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche, Céline Sallette, Benoît Magimel
Review By Greg Klymkiw
In 1971 director William Friedkin knocked the world on its ass with The French Connection, a film that even now has few equals in the genre of crime and cop thrillers. Based on the real-life adventures of New York detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, Friedkin brought the hard-hitting grittiness of a documentarian and the sheer kinetic virtuosity of a razzle-dazzle showman to detail one of the biggest drug busts in American history for the silver screen.
One would think, based on Friedkin's great film and the solid, but unexceptional John Frankenheimer sequel French Connection II, that on the other side of the pond in Marseilles, our Gallic law-enformement officials were doing little more than eating cheese and drinking fine wine.
Well, it's over forty years later and a new motion picture has come along to prove that there were indeed law enforcement officials on the French side who did a little something to break the case.
The Connection (known in France as La French) might as well be about eating cheese and drinking wine. At 135 plodding minutes, this is one of the most dull crime pictures made in, well, let's say over forty years. Focusing upon the spiffy, snappy dresser of a prosecuting magistrate (Jean Dujardin) and his attempts to nail an untouchable drug kingpin (Gilles Lellouche), director Cédric Jimenez mounts a slick, but empty cat and mouse affair that places most of its emphasis upon back room dealings and occasional forays into the drug trade underbelly.
Jimenez tosses a whole lot of herby-jerky handheld camera work and occasionally quick cutting to let us know we're not watching a movie about well-dressed Frenchmen eating cheese, but it's all for nought. The Connection is an endlessly talky, convoluted and predictable low-key policier that only proves one thing - Americans did it first and better and if anything interesting or exceptional happened in this case on the French side, other than the ingestion of curds and grape, this is not the movie to prove it.
Aside from a whole lotta spiffy-dressing French dudes driving spiffy cars and living in spiffy digs with spiffy babes and generally being, uh, spiffy as they dine in spiffy bistros, the movie delivers a whole lotta spiffy nothing.
If anything it puts a blight on an otherwise noble tradition of French crime pictures by being so boring.
And, I guess, being spiffy - for no real reason.
THE FILM CORNER rating: * One-Star
The Connection is a Seville/eOne/Drafthouse release playing the Gala slot at TIFF 2014. Visit the TIFF website HERE for further info.
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