Col. Rodin: We are not terrorists, you understand. We are patriots. Our duty is to the soldiers who've died fighting in Algeria, and to the three million French citizens who have always lived there.
The Jackal: [bluntly] And so you want to get rid of him.
Col. Rodin: [after a pause] Speaking as a professional, do you think it's possible?
The Jackal: It's possible. The point is getting away with it. And speaking as a professional, that's a very important consideration.
An extremely well made thriller about a meticulous assassin, codenamed the Jackal, who has been hired to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle and the efforts by the French government to find this assassin and stop him.
This movie works extremely well due to how well every aspect is executed. The way the story unfolds is not only exciting, but believable. There is no need to have any sort of suspension of disbelief. The way the Jackal moves around Europe and evade the police is all handled in a realistic manner. On the other side of things, the way the government goes trying to find the Jackal is also done through a straightforward and believable approach.
Much of this comes through in how the movie uses all the details to hold itself together. Little things like the function of some papers created in scenes much earlier in the movie, or the purpose of an item purchased at a marketplace all come together very well by the time its purpose must be served. The weapon of choice by the Jackal is also especially cool, due to its practically covert design, and the way the film shows how the Jackal transports it.
The lead performance from Edward Fox as the Jackal is also great. Fox has to play a man who can easily blend into a crowd and not give off any sort of alarm. This isn't the kind of person that will be given deep characterization, but from what we know, he is skilled, orderly, and efficient. The fact that he applies his skills to professional killing gives him a slight sinister quality, but his proper English manner could make anyone believe otherwise.
Minister: How did you know whose telephone to tap?
Lebel: I didn't, so I tapped them all.
Michael Lonsdale as Lebel, the chief inspector going after the Jackal is also very good. He is a confident man, doesn't lose sight in his objective, but doesn't easily find his way to his target either. He goes through all logical processes to discover the Jackal's plans.
Much of the success also comes from how well this film moves along. At two hours and twenty minutes, this movie glides by, remaining constantly entertaining, with important points occurring at almost every way through. This is due to how well the movie is edited. Scenes move straight to the point, with cuts away from obvious results, moving to the resulting scenes, ready for the next actions to take place.
The scenery is great. This film uses the actual locations throughout Europe to show where the Jackal has traveled, which includes London, Paris, and various other parts of Europe.
This is a wonderfully exciting hitman thriller, that unfolds its story appropriately, and is especially superior to the terrible remake.
Minister: Who the hell was he?