Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The French Connection

1971
20th Century Fox
Director: William Friedkin
Length: 104 min.
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 3 January

'Popeye' Doyle is one of the great antiheroes in cinema. He is largely amoral, racist, arrogant, violent and, quite frankly, not even a very good cop. Regardless, we root for him because of his charisma, his unwavering sense of duty, and that, at least in the main case of the film, he goes after men worse than he is. Hackman is perfect in the role (his best performance), which gives some credit to the method acting philosophy; would the film have been so good if he and Scheider stuck to the script with its Hollywood detective dialogue? Of course not. Indeed, the film works primarily as a document of narcotics detectives in the New York of the 1970s, revealing the mannerisms, lifestyles, overt racism and language of Hackman and Scheider's real-life counterparts. The fantastic documentary style cinematography and editing often make us feel as if we are watching the greatest episode of "Cops" ever. The ending does hit a bit of a false note with its forced anti-climactic ending, and perhaps could have done without the freeze-frame epilogue. Otherwise, this is one of the few films deserving of a Best Picture Oscar, which it won in 1972, although many days I feel like perhaps "The Last Picture Show" or "Straw Dogs" should have won instead.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Belisha said...

You are right, he is really cool in it.

04 January, 2006 06:06  
Blogger Kyle Smith said...

Hello Yuko! I always love a good antihero. If you are interested in other cool antiheroes, I suggest the Mad Max trilogy, "Nowhere to Hide" (Injeong sajeong bol geot eobtda), the 1997 "Insomnia," "Hana-bi," and "The Naked Spur" (because Jimmy Stewart is always cool), just to name a couple examples off the top of my head.

04 January, 2006 09:49  

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