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A nice French crime film shot in the best traditions of the 60's. The message of this movie if very straightforward: once you are in the "game" there is no way out, there's no such thing as a retired gangster, it's simple as that. The film studies the code of honour among gangsters and makes it in a very interesting and enjoyable manner: the relaxed acting, swift camerawork and refreshing feel of the then still new cinema style make this movie a pleasurable viewing. Belmondo is very handsome in the role of a young smiling thief who still believes in the infallibility of the code of honour in the criminal world.
It's like the long drawn-out moody denouement from another film in which Lino Ventura has lived a successful life of crime but which culminated in his escaping from France to live in exile. However, there was no other film! Classe Tous Risques begins abruptly with Ventura seeking to return to Paris after a long exile with his wife and two young kids and a partner. After stealing money for the road and nearly getting caught, they run into tragedy when they are confronted at the border by customs officials and a shoot-out leaves only Ventura and his two boys (7 and 5) alive. So, he calls up his old friends in Paris to come get him out of Nice and back home - but they don't want to know him anymore, now that they are all set up in new profitable lives. They send a hired hand instead, who turns out to be Belmondo, who turns out to be a good egg. He helps Ventura to get the kids taken care of and then they turn their minds to revenge. But Ventura is running out of steam, feeling low, more empty than stoic; Belmondo is full of vigor, falling in love with Sandra Milo, as a counterpoint. The film follows the usual course of French noir, carefully observing the mechanics of each moment, whether it be a heist or a conference amongst gangsters. There's action enough but the mood is sombre. Melville owned this genre but his great films (except Bob le Flambeur, 1956) all came later. Perhaps Touchez Pas Au Grisbi (1954) and Rififi (1955) are the best earlier examples. Still, this hit the spot.
Ah, the French can make those gangster movies laden with Fate, failed loyalties, and - well before the Godfather and the Sopranos - family.
The good end happily and the bad unhappily. Plus all you want from a film noir.
It's tough to make a movie about the consequences of the gangster lifestyle without glamorizing the very thing you set out to critique. This film does not fall into that trap. I should note that the location shooting is stunning.
A well filmed sequence of interesting events, but lacking a hook, or characters in whom I felt invested, or sufficient narrative drive for me to really call it a story.
A well filmed sequence of interesting events but lacking a hook or characters in whom I felt invested or sufficient narrative drive for me to really call it a story.
Premier succÃ¨s de Claude Sautet avec Lino Ventura et Jean-Paul Belmondo (qui ne cabotine pas encore). Un excellent polar sur un homme traquÃ©, aux abois et lÃ¢chÃ© par ses amis. A voir.
a stylish french gangster film with an ending that may be seen as anti-climactic... which i characterize instead as quietly tragic, not to mention more 'adult' somehow in its consciousness
Brilliant entry in the pantheon of classic french noirs from the 1960s. Expert directing from Claude Sautet and stellar acting make this a stylish and riveting thriller with constant twists and turns. Not to be missed by noir fans or followers of French cinema.