The French Connection Reviews
Unfortunately, I have experienced 'The French Connection' for the first time through the 2009 release Blu-Ray - which must feature one of the worst transfers ever. Despite the distracting nature of this, I was still able to enjoy the film for the most part; but I have to say that, bearing in mind this is one of the 'all-time classics', I was slightly underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, the film has many attributes: a great chase sequence and a sense of profound realism being among them. Yet, nothing really stood out to me as truly exceptional. The plot is serviceable but basic, character development is limited and I didn't, for the most part, care for any of them. The performances are solid, but again, not anything special. It just seems like a very middle-of-the-road cop thriller. It's a film I'm glad I've seen, and one that entertained me throughout; and one that has clearly had a great impact on the crime genre, but it's either dated or - dare I say it - overrated.
Gene Hackman also couldn't have played Doyle any better than he did here, his role as an at-times sadistic cop with a personal chip on his shoulder, thrust within in a gritty, crime-embroiled New York City. But the problem is, there is little-to-no character development, to the extent that despite our longstanding adventure with Doyle, we don't actually care too much of his outcome, this goes likewise with the villains and for Roy Scheider's character. In a movie that's about good versus evil, it's usually vital to give us a character we can relate to, so we can actually distinguish the difference between the good and the evil, so we can actually root for a character's succession. But it never happens, we are presented with the basics of Doyle and that's it, from there on it's about the job.
But as I've previously mentioned, this film is revolutionary in the crime genre, and in cinema as a whole, and I enjoy the experience every time I watch it, the thrilling chase scenes, the gruff embodiment of hate that is Doyle, to the paranoia-clad villains, Friedkin's achievement can't be diminished.