Thursday, July 29, 2010
Rififi owes a bit to John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle, and as good as that movie is, Rififi is still a better one. And if The Asphalt Jungle was close to great, then Rififi is a masterpiece, or, if it sounds better, the best heist movie ever made. There's a lot to love about Rififi (Including the word rififi, which is incredibly fun to say), but to me the most enjoyable thing about it was how closely it paid attention to the details of the heist. The preparations for the heist, especially the scene involving the muting of a duplicate alarm, and then the heist itself, played out in a long scene of silence, were deliciously complicated. Rififi was actually made by an American director, Jules Dassin, who went to France after a downfall in Hollywood. In America he did movies like Brute Force, The Naked City, and The Tell-Tale Heart. It's strange to wonder if Rififi would have been as good if it was made in America, but I suppose it's a moot point because with The Asphalt Jungle I don't think it could have been produced in the states. Rififi features several good performances and one great one from Jean Servais. He plays Tony, a man recently released from prison who decides to do a jewel heist that will ensure he won't have to work ever again. Servais has a face that seemed really familiar to me, but I looked him up and found he only made a few obscure foreign films. Rififi was definitely his career high mark. This is a movie that I suppose could be called a work of art, and what could also be called art is the brilliant cover art from the Criterion Collection. Check it out, and if you haven't seen the movie, buy it and watch it ASAP!