Du Rififi Chez les Hommes (Rififi) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 20, 2009
This is a (French) film noir heist thriller....could it really get any better than that? No, not really. Aside from the fact that it was difficult to read the subtitles at times (black and white film with white/gray lettering), this is a top notch film, and I can see why it is regarded as one of the best and most influential heist films. It's also one of the more artful films of its type too, mostly with how it is constructed and executed.

The plot is pretty standard for this type of film: criminal gets out of jail, gets involved in a lucrative score. All seems perfect, and starts off that way, but thigns fall apart, and all hell breaks loose. Much of this film (either plot or certain elements) has turned up in places such as Heat, Mission: Impossible, and the Ocean's trilogy, among others. Sometimes it is just as homage or reference, other times it seems like theft *cue rimshot*.

This is just some incredibly thrilling and well done stuff. One sequence that is often mentioned is the film's centerpiece: the heist scene. It is roughly a half hour long, and nearly silent (no talking or music, but some occasional sound). Doing things this way really adds to the atmosphere and builds up the suspense and tension to an almost unbearable level.

The final portion of the film involves the fallout of the job, and, for its time, some of this must have seemed rather violent and shocking. Nowadays, not so much, but it's still pretty engaging stuff.

A remake of this has been planend for quite some time, and, if it ever gets made, it could be good, but regardless, do yourself a favor and check this one out. It's truly a marvelous and masterful film.
Super Reviewer
½ November 3, 2007
the awful news of a remake starring al pacino has just ruined my day D:
and for those who don't know, dassin wasn't a french filmmaker at all. he was born in connecticut of russian-jewish parents and grew up in harlem. he moved to europe after being blacklisted in 1950 during production of night and the city. did hollywood learn nothing from the pathetic 1992 remake of that film with robert de niro? gah!!!!!!
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2009
Rififi is a truly absorbing, brilliantly executed film by French filmmaker Jules Dassin. In it, a group of four thieves plan the perfect heist, but are ultimately betrayed by their passions and impulses. It is a very pessimistic, dark masterpiece.

Jean Servais plays the brooding, lonely main character. He brings the brilliance into the scheme; he's a tortured, experienced criminal who is just out of jail. He is constantly quiet, keeps his motives secret, and conceals with zeal his weak points. Above all, he is the anti hero who redeems himself at the end, if such word as "redemption" can apply. He and his French friend, whose son is his godson, and two Italian thieves -one of which is an expert safebox breaker- begin to plan a 20 million Francs robbery at a jewelry store. During the first half of the film, the group is shown in painstaking observation and evaluation of the routine in and an around the store. Finally, the night comes to execute the plan, and this develops into one of the most fascinating, maybe even exquisite, robbery scenes I have ever seen. For many minutes there is hardly a sound, except perhaps that of the rest of the audience in the theater, hearts beating or nervous breathing. It is wonderfully hypnotizing and mortifying, filmed with such precision and style that it immediately produces admiration. I think that to any film lover this will be close to an ecstatic experience.

Technical perfection is not the sole, dominant aspect of Rififi. The four main characters are very well outlined and very well acted; Jean Servais is as archtypical a noir leading man as there ever was in American cinema. Together they embody the carelessness of having nothing to lose, the fierceness of wanting to win everything, and the sadness that such emptiness must helplessly imply. There are also the gloomy, atmospheric shots in the streets of Paris to set the mood, and provide background for the twists and turns of the plot. With a clear narrative style, Rififi successfuly incorporates fragmented scenes, composed of angular takes against the sky and roads of Paris, in a way that reminded me very much of later New Wave films.

It is not only a thrilling, suspenseful "action" film, but Du Rififi Chez les Hommes is also a complex drama and styllistic gem. It has violence, humor, sex, and crimes that do not go unpunished. One of those films that really seem to come full circle and satisfy not only us, but themselves.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2009
Vintage 1955 French film noir that's reminiscent of The Asphalt Jungle (1950). Jean Servais brings a certain ambiance to the lead role that's part George Raft and part Humphrey Bogart with just a little Joe Pesci thrown in for good measure. Good stuff. Very, very good stuff.
Super Reviewer
½ December 6, 2007
an absolutely captivating crime story and probably one of the three best heist films ever made. the second act, a 33 minute heist sequence with no dialogue and limited score, is probably the greatest heist sequence in film history. the film also takes the bold and genius step of not having the heist be the climax as dassin is aware enough to realize that the heist is never the true end to any heist story. the final act is brilliant and even more enthralling than the heist itself. my only criticism is a subjective one in that i spent two hours investing in the story and its characters and i felt that the final scene lacked closure to an otherwise perfect story. all together this is really one of the most clever films ever made.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2007
Expatriate filmmaker Jules Dassin pulls off a paris style noir masterpiece. Starring a great world-weary french Bogey Jean Servais. full of all my beloved noir keys, darkness, gloomy atmospheres, losers without a dime but with everything at stake, a well planned but ultimately gone wrong heist and the unavoidable disastrous destiny knocking on everybody's door. suspenseful, deep and utterly compelling.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2007
Best use of an umbrella EVER!
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2007
Louise: You're not the only one that had an unhappy childhood, there are millions like you, and, in my eyes, *they* are the tough ones, not you!

A brilliant film noir, about four men pulling off a heist and the aftermath of the event. Made in 1954, this is one of the first caper films and one of the most immitated. You can easily see references made in films like Reservoir Dogs, Ocean's 11, The Score, and many others.

Directed by Jules Dassin who, at that time, had been blacklisted from Hollywood, creates a great film, set in France with a great attention to detail.

The film centers on a man who has just been released from jail for robbery, only to join another group of men for another heist.

The heist takes place around the middle of the film. It is a 30 minute sequence, with no score or dialogue, comprised only of breathing and various noises from the setting. Its a great sequence to watch.

The rest of the film is equally well done, with the various characters all given a good amount of depth.

The tone of the film is very dark. There is a lot of violence and bloodshed. This is a film about criminals, and the film isn't afraid to show a certain level of realism concerning that topic.

As the story unfolds, especially after the heist, I was more and more engrossed in what was going to happen.

It also looks great. France is shown in such a dark way, while being captured beautifully.

The interaction between characters is well done, with a mix of humorous, cold, and witty lines exchanged constantly.

The whole film is so well done, it is easily one of the best all time noirs.
Super Reviewer
½ April 15, 2007
Such a great movie. It's a heist picture that could pass off as cliche until you remember that this is probably the mold for the others. The heist itself runs about a half hour in almost total silence--brilliantly! If it wasn't for Night in the City I'd say this is Dassin's masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
The enormity of this film's influence and stylism is not to be brushed aside. Jules Dassin's direction is pretty damn close to perfect, with scrupulous pacing and a noir-infused visual approach that underline its tension efficiently. It's a tense, unforgiving film, and Dassin does a nice job of painting a violent picture in a nuanced fashion. The only drawback for me on a personal level was the brutally cruel nature of the protagonist, which is most visible in a shocking scene where he forces a woman to remove her clothes and beats her with a belt. As far as I'm concerned, it distances the audience from the plight of the focal characters to an extent, but it's consistent with the tone of the movie as a whole. This is a masterful film.
Super Reviewer
½ March 10, 2008
An instant favorite.
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2008
Best heist film ever! 'Rififi' is simply amazing!
Super Reviewer
December 23, 2007
The sequence with the robbery in total silence (because there is an alarm that detects sound) is a must see.
Super Reviewer
½ January 9, 2007
A near flawless heist film classic. Highly influential and way ahead of it's time.
Super Reviewer
November 11, 2007
Fantastic heist movie, and fantastic heist scene... Kind of like Unforgiven for french thieves. After this and Night and the City, I need to see more Jules Dassin.
Super Reviewer
½ January 21, 2007
The heist scene is impressive even without the sound which makes it more affective.
October 11, 2013
Best heist movie ever?
Quite possibly yes!

This belongs on (if not at the top of) a list of movies made before their time. From the painstakingly created low-tech but inventive heist to the brilliantly brutal events that follow, Jules Dassin, created a classic crime drama here that clearly inspired countless writers and directors in the decades since it first appeared.
½ April 8, 2013
Classic heist movie. It's good as a whole, but the 30 minute robbery scene is exquisite. The tension is deliciously smothering.
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