La French [2015] ★★★

La-French-Poster-787x1024Don’t you just hate it when they remake classic movies like “The French Connection”? I don’t, especially when it’s a remake starring Jean Dujardin (Oscar winner for “The Artist“) as police magistrate Pierre Michel in 1970’s France and his relentless dedication to stop the most notorious drug smuggling operation in history: the French Connection. Directors Cedric Jimenez and Shannon Harvey — channeling William Friedkin’s masterpiece and Jean-Pierre Melville’s cop movies of the 60’s and 70’s — have fired off one terrific, twisty thriller; hot-blooded, haunting and packed with the pleasures of the unexpected. Dujardin is a marvel as Pierre Michel, who becomes obsessed with the case. The acting is uniformly first-rate, with special props going to Gilles Lelouche, who plays drug lord Gaetan “Tany” Zampa , Celine Sallette as Michel’s wife and an array of colorful supporting characters. You watch “La French” with nerves clenched, holding on tight. It’s one of the best remakes I’ve seen in quite a while.

Rating: 3/4

1 reply »

  1. Everything is good in your review of this film, except for one detail that is important … it’s not at all a “remake” of “The French Connection”. It’s a film unrelated to the American film of which you speak. Even if its subject “the French connection”, a real news about a traffic of heroin on the European side and on the American side of the Atlantic in 1970s (which gave its name to an american movie, the one which you speak) because is the backdrop of the film. But this news item therefore concerns as much France as the United States. The French film (“La French” is the original French title)” explains the assassination of Judge Michel in Marseilles in the south of France. A sordid affair that hit the headlines in the late 1970s and has long remained a mystery to the French. Even if one knew that some politicians were “implicated” in this murder, all of this remained very opaque and no one was sure that it had anything to do with drug trafficking. One knew that it concerned the Marseille mafia community, but no one knew for do what or how, and especially why politicians were behind this assassination. Or rather why they covered it. Why they’re closed their eyes. Only rumors were running, but they remained vague…
    So of course that the main interest of the film is “La french connection”, but here we’re talking about the investigation on the French side. That led by the American police is well evoked, but it’s not at all the main spring of this film. It’s a film which will certainly interest the USA because they’re concerned and certainly don’t know the repercussions that this affair had on the French side at the time. “La French” may also be perfect for spectators from other countries. Because it deals, with great efficiency, action, and, a real sense of staging for the restitution of the atmosphere of the 70s in Marseille and in the USA (for the few film scenes that take place across the Atlantic), of a “cold case” which crossed the borders of its country of origin. And which they’ve probably heard of. Because it had international ramifications. The modern and muscular production makes it a perfectly effective thriller for all public. But, this film will still be much more attractive to the French because it reveals political underpinnings of this insanity of one of the biggest international drug traffics to have ever existed. Because of course, the French over forty, them, had know the politicians and stakeholders that are discussed in the film. They had been part of their television daily life there’s years.

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