Thursday, 26 January 2012

The French Connection (1971)

Film of 2012 #14
No Spoilers

Finally got a chance to see the William Friedkin police drama starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, I knew very little of this film going in other than it was a slow burner and was quite violent. I have to say that those comments are accurate when it comes to summing up this film, you have Hackman and Scheider on drug case where they are sure it is going to be  a bust but I think that it becomes bigger than they originally expected. You also see the French side with the master criminals dealing with the transaction and I think that there was also a level of naivety from their side based upon who they were dealing with, this brings a real sense of realism to this film. 

There are some slow scenes with Hackman staking out the suspected criminals in New York in winter and you see his dedication with the fact that it is obviously freezing and it goes on a bit to long for me but does give a sense of how much he wants the bust. There is a chase scene when Hackman "borrows" a civilians car and chases a suspect who is on an Elevated train, the whole scene reminded me of something from Grand Theft Auto and it would not surprise me if this was an influence on the game makers. There is a level of violence in the game and the 1970's cops do give the impression of shoot first ask questions later and this leads to some interesting situations. 

Overall this is an excellent film you have good performances from the main actors with Hackman stealing the show for me, he is so aggressive and obsessive it drags you along and while you do not like the character this is probably because you are not meant to like this racist and violent cop. I would recommend this film, it is quite long but very entertaining and is from a different era on New York in the 1970's a solid 3 stars from me, I can appreciate that it is not for everyone.

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