The French Connection Reviews
Great action and acting makes The French Connection a tense police thriller.
The long and silent stakeout and foot pursuit scenes commanded my rapt attention.
Watched this on 8/5/16
The late 60s and the 70s changed American cinema (Glory days of New Hollywood Era) with daring realism in their films and finally took the Hollywood dazzle out of these films until Star Wars IV came and did a U-turn that resulted in studio controlled films meant for 10 year olds ever since. In this context, French Connection is a landmark achievement for the changing 70s cinema as well as the best work from William Friedkin. The film, although starts off slow, carries terrific pacing and tight, thrilling scenes. The cinematography, score and the lead actors all add to its taste.
Exhilarating (almost overwhelming) action movie about narcotics cops in N.Y.C. who attempt to pull the plug on a major drug deal (it's essentially one long chase). Stellar film leads to chilling conclusion; Hackman is truly unforgettable. Some movie fans consider this to also have the most exciting car chase ever. Five Oscars: Picture, Actor, Director, Script, Editing. Followed by a sequel.
Doyle (Gene Hackman) is a cop in the narcotics bureau who is often criticized for his backfired hunches but well supported by his chief along with his partner Russo (Roy Scheider). Doyle and Russo come across a charismatic couple Boca's in a bar and tails them since they had a bad feeling. Their observation provides leads into some unknown shady deal about to happen. All this seems connected to a Frenchman Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey) but the details are still hazy. But Doyle's perseverance and unconventional work ethics helps to put pieces together.
Firstly a special commendation should go for the intense and exhilarating chase sequence between a car and a hijacked train. A role of an obsessed cop or a detective is nothing new but when played by someone as talented as Gene Hackman it just gets better. Hackman plays the role with measured intensity, carelessness, obsession and a sense of humor. Roy Scheider gives an apt supporting role while Fernando Rey is very inconsistent ebbing and surging the character's image constantly. Background score isn't too loud which is otherwise very common for thrillers during its era while the photography is very enjoyable with its perfect wide shots and intense maneuvering for additional thrills. The graphic violence lacks technical prowess succumbing to a low quality finished product in a couple of scenes. Though a little disconnected in the beginning, the screenplay pulls up from its lull intensifying and ends up playing the winning role for the movie.
If it ends well, all is well
The story of intense cop (Gene Hackman) on the trail of an international drug exchange based on little evidence just some strong hunches & street knowledge.
The strength of the film lies in its rawness & somewhat documentary real life style. It's fast, kinetic & impacting. It's a film that commands your attention & well worth a watch, a unique but worthy Best Picture winner of 1971.