Sunday, January 4, 2009

The French Connection. A


The poster for William Friedkin's 'The French Connection' (winner of five Oscars including Best Picture) states that Doyle is a bad news but a good cop. I guess that would be a pretty accurate description him. The movie itself is pretty simple: two cops, Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Russo (Roy Scheider) attempt to bring down a drug deal that has moved from France to New York. The movie is built around the characters, the acting, and the chases, particularly the most famous one involving the subway. Hackman won an oscar for his role as Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle,' but to me the best performance came Scheider, though his scenes are unfortunately limited compared to Doyle's. The main villain in the film is a Frenchman named Alain Charnier. (Fernando Rey) There is a scene on the subway when Doyle is trying to follow Charnier. For some reason Charnier keeps stepping on and off the subway. Doyle simply follows, thinking that he has the man trapped. But little does he know that he is being tricked by Charnier, who knows he is being followed. Charnier eventually escapes on the Subway without Doyle. Doyle chases after it and we see Charnier give him a sneaky little wave of the hand. There is something about that little hand wave that truly convinced me that Charnier is a completely evil menace. 'The French Connection' is a true story based off of the infamous French connection back in the sixties and seventies. The characters are created, but inspired by actual people. There was a sequel that followed called 'French Connection 2.' Nobody really knows or cares about that one. 'The French Connection' is one of those films that I call my favorites. It is so good in so many ways and there are very few flaws, if any, that I could find. The movie moves fast, but it is unlike most Hollywood cop films. It is realistic and grim while at the same time very entertaining. The final scene is amazing as we see the frustration and determination of Doyle. Then we hear that final shot and we are left with something of a special gift. Is it?

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