A Cop (Un Flic) Reviews

  • Nov 25, 2020

    There's some good scenes of coolly presented crime in this film.

    There's some good scenes of coolly presented crime in this film.

  • Nov 18, 2020

    Jean-Pierre Melville's Dirty Money, aka Un Flic, has a gritty and realistic surface that holds our attention even when the complex and unrealistic story can't. That is thanks to the film's rich detail, a deliciously slow pace, and Melville's choice to let the images speak, with long silent periods punctuated by brief, even terse dialogue. We willingly suspend our disbelief for both the outrageous coincidence that the Delon, Deneuve and Crenna characters know each other well in civilian life, and for the extended train and helicopter sequences filmed with models. But we can't be so generous with the overall bleak mood and the inscrutable characters.

    Jean-Pierre Melville's Dirty Money, aka Un Flic, has a gritty and realistic surface that holds our attention even when the complex and unrealistic story can't. That is thanks to the film's rich detail, a deliciously slow pace, and Melville's choice to let the images speak, with long silent periods punctuated by brief, even terse dialogue. We willingly suspend our disbelief for both the outrageous coincidence that the Delon, Deneuve and Crenna characters know each other well in civilian life, and for the extended train and helicopter sequences filmed with models. But we can't be so generous with the overall bleak mood and the inscrutable characters.

  • May 19, 2020

    I regret having watched Melville's final film first, since the culmination of a director's career carries the weight of his previous films and must be evaluated accordingly. Because of this, I look forward to thinking back on this film after I've seen some of his older ones. There's an overwhelming sense of ambivalence hanging over this film, to the point where the ending carries no sense of satisfaction for the commissar character -- and no surprise, considering he destroyed nearly all of his relationships to do so. In fact, beyond the usual noir trope of comparing the gangsters to the cops and showing they aren't so different, Un Flic shows the cops as destructive where the outlaws are creative. They are equally ingenious, but in unraveling the mystery the commissar is leaving behind a trail of corpses and burnt bridges. There is also something here about the criminal death-drive. I admit that I didn't pay close enough attention and missed some key plot points. I remain confused about how the commissar knew that Costa would be coming to the restaurant to kill him, aside from the fact that his associate's name had been placed in the newspaper. Be forewarned that this film won't piece everything together for you, and you'll need to focus. The heist scenes were something to behold, and I quite enjoyed the obsessive attention paid to every technicality. There's a particularly ingenious tactic involving a tape measure and a magnet. My favorite shot in the film was when the commissar is meeting his mistress in a hotel room and jokingly announces she is under arrest. The viewer wants to know who is in the room and is confused to see the camera moving up to the ceiling, until we see the mirror which reflects the characters below. I also found the lack of wordiness compelling, with scenes that typically would involve a lot of shouting or inanities (like the police interrogation and scenes involving the love triangle) instead distilled to intense eye contact.

    I regret having watched Melville's final film first, since the culmination of a director's career carries the weight of his previous films and must be evaluated accordingly. Because of this, I look forward to thinking back on this film after I've seen some of his older ones. There's an overwhelming sense of ambivalence hanging over this film, to the point where the ending carries no sense of satisfaction for the commissar character -- and no surprise, considering he destroyed nearly all of his relationships to do so. In fact, beyond the usual noir trope of comparing the gangsters to the cops and showing they aren't so different, Un Flic shows the cops as destructive where the outlaws are creative. They are equally ingenious, but in unraveling the mystery the commissar is leaving behind a trail of corpses and burnt bridges. There is also something here about the criminal death-drive. I admit that I didn't pay close enough attention and missed some key plot points. I remain confused about how the commissar knew that Costa would be coming to the restaurant to kill him, aside from the fact that his associate's name had been placed in the newspaper. Be forewarned that this film won't piece everything together for you, and you'll need to focus. The heist scenes were something to behold, and I quite enjoyed the obsessive attention paid to every technicality. There's a particularly ingenious tactic involving a tape measure and a magnet. My favorite shot in the film was when the commissar is meeting his mistress in a hotel room and jokingly announces she is under arrest. The viewer wants to know who is in the room and is confused to see the camera moving up to the ceiling, until we see the mirror which reflects the characters below. I also found the lack of wordiness compelling, with scenes that typically would involve a lot of shouting or inanities (like the police interrogation and scenes involving the love triangle) instead distilled to intense eye contact.

  • Jun 28, 2019

    A genre piece, nothing outstanding. It passes with low expectations.

    A genre piece, nothing outstanding. It passes with low expectations.

  • Feb 14, 2019

    Despite a great opening heist scene most of this simply isn't up to Melville's usual standard, and Deneuve is criminally under-used. While far from a disaster it's easily the weakest Melville film I've seen so far.

    Despite a great opening heist scene most of this simply isn't up to Melville's usual standard, and Deneuve is criminally under-used. While far from a disaster it's easily the weakest Melville film I've seen so far.

  • Aug 23, 2018

    A crime drama with style, good performances and some good direction, but slow in pace and not quite suspenseful.

    A crime drama with style, good performances and some good direction, but slow in pace and not quite suspenseful.

  • Feb 26, 2018

    My third Melville-flick in a month or so and probably the poorest one for me so far. It was his last film, with a typical style of his. Slick, cool music and it sticks to the book of film noire. The story is all right but nothing extraordinary as we kick start it with a robbery. It does not go that well, but the three robbers do get some cash. Alain Delon, the star of Melville's "Le Samourai" - which I have not seen yet, is the detective here. He's having an affair with Simon's girlfriend, a restuarant owner - and, you guessed it, he is also one of the three robbers. This cat and mouse game is sweet, at times smart but never totally rewarding. There is to many moments of silence, the lack of dialogue is making it a bit stripped down or even spontaneous. Sure, it's cool, especially in the 15-20 minutes long train robbery scene. It looks very fake, but also very serious and with great detail and planning. 7 out of 10 van Gogh's.

    My third Melville-flick in a month or so and probably the poorest one for me so far. It was his last film, with a typical style of his. Slick, cool music and it sticks to the book of film noire. The story is all right but nothing extraordinary as we kick start it with a robbery. It does not go that well, but the three robbers do get some cash. Alain Delon, the star of Melville's "Le Samourai" - which I have not seen yet, is the detective here. He's having an affair with Simon's girlfriend, a restuarant owner - and, you guessed it, he is also one of the three robbers. This cat and mouse game is sweet, at times smart but never totally rewarding. There is to many moments of silence, the lack of dialogue is making it a bit stripped down or even spontaneous. Sure, it's cool, especially in the 15-20 minutes long train robbery scene. It looks very fake, but also very serious and with great detail and planning. 7 out of 10 van Gogh's.

  • Aug 11, 2017

    This is among Melville's more ambitious projects, and certainly the cleanest as far as editing goes. It's well directed as usual, but Delon sleepwalks and Deneuve is only on screen for like 11 seconds. But all I could think about after this movie is how hilariously bad the matte paintings and miniatures are; I swear Jean-Pierre Melville went to the Christmas store and bought himself a toy train and a Matchbox helicopter for one of the scenes. I guess you just gotta enjoy it, because what's good is really good.

    This is among Melville's more ambitious projects, and certainly the cleanest as far as editing goes. It's well directed as usual, but Delon sleepwalks and Deneuve is only on screen for like 11 seconds. But all I could think about after this movie is how hilariously bad the matte paintings and miniatures are; I swear Jean-Pierre Melville went to the Christmas store and bought himself a toy train and a Matchbox helicopter for one of the scenes. I guess you just gotta enjoy it, because what's good is really good.

  • Apr 03, 2016

    Found it a bit boring, dun like it much.

    Found it a bit boring, dun like it much.

  • Sep 04, 2015

    Liked the real time filming of robbery on the train.Good to see on big screen as part of Catherine Deneuve â" Une RÃ (C)trospective @AFdeSydney Classic Film Festival. However she is hardly on screen.

    Liked the real time filming of robbery on the train.Good to see on big screen as part of Catherine Deneuve â" Une RÃ (C)trospective @AFdeSydney Classic Film Festival. However she is hardly on screen.