Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.


Rififi was one of the answers in last months Empire crossword. It stuck in my mind because I had to use to work it out, and picked it up on a whim from the library.

So, for the review. Note - spoilervision will be used sparingly for the whole article, so whenever it goes black highlight only if you've seen it. Though the first massive block of black is mostly about me - it simply gives away which of the two sorts of heist films this is.

A crook released from prison plans a brilliant diamond theft to get his girl back.

There are two sorts of heist films - those which make you cheer at the end, and those which make you cheer in the middle just before it all goes horribly wrong. I'd give you examples, but spoilers...

Anyway, Rififi is distinctly in the latter catagory - I don't scream at the screen very often, normally I just go dead quiet, but this was one of the rare occasions where I scream and then go quiet - usually for half an hour or so. This has never happened with a film before. Books, several times - noticably during Gormenghast and The Count of Monte Cristo -but never a film. Another usual symptom of finishing a dreadful ending or reading a particularly devastating chapter is visiting a restaurant directly after, specifically a pizza place. I kid you not - I have a history of such experiences. So it should come as no surprise thatI'm drafting the first copy of this review/rant at the local pub, over a glass of J2O and half a Marguerita.

Enough about me, what about the film? It had the odd really really good scene, noticably the zoom out from the humming Viviane and the bit where the flummoxed crooks try to beat the flawless security system in a basement over a copy of the instructions. The image of little Tonio threatening both goodie and baddie crooks with his toy cowboy gun was especially striking and ironic.

This film, being an oldie (I forgot to mention it was both in French and black&white, didn't I? Ooops, mybad. Please don't let it put you off...), is almost entirely blood free - when nasty things do happen, it's just implied. This is not half as effective as I've been lead to believe. Though it's occasionally effective, mostly it's just confusing.

The long music and speech-free heist (32 minutes, according to is entirely gripping. And the use of the unbrella was especially ingenious. Just don't try taking your eyes from the screen when the police start investigating the car.

Of course, heist films of the second catagory are not about the heist at all, and things really hot up once they've escaped. To be frank, I was interested but not entirely engaged until they escape with the "ice" and...

The music is tragically always intrusive, especially in the last scene; and the song which explains the title...doesn't really explain it at all. imdb tells me it's French underworld slang for machismo, but it still doesn't make sense. After all, there really isn't very much of that in the film - it's far more quiet than that.

Almost forgot the acting! Dear uncle Tony was great, one of a long line of hard-eyed heroes with a whole lot more bubbling under the surface - just my kinda guy. He was entirely excellent- he never says anything to explain away or even admit the prescence of emotions, you just know he feels it all very deeply. And he pinches the good lines too - from the restrained and calm comment "you did it" (that really knocked me off guard, it was so me at any rate) to the delivery of "Il juibiles" when asked how Jo is (pardon my badly spelt French, it translates as "laughing"). Speaking of Jo, he's initially sweet (despite disobeying my suggestion never to have a happy family) and gets gradually twitchier. Oh, and Mario? Well...not much to say there...not to mention Cesar, played by the director himself.
The only negative comment I could make is that Mado is almost incedental to the plot. She drifts in and out, motivation here, plot point there. She impacts the story but doesn't seem a part of it. Just a thought...
All in all, a very good film. It didn't feel "great" the way some films do, but it was certainly very good - technically perfect, as genuinely gripping as B&W films ever are (Dudes, don't crucify me! I simply mean compared to the manufactured effects-laden whizzyness of today's films, even if they can compete it's certainly different) and emotionally tiring. Not to mention unforgettable. Enjoy the pizza.
I watched this film on my own, and my first stop was to to air my opinions. So I ram the title (at least, the UK version) into the search box and guess what comes up? The 2007 version. This makes me very upset. Now needless to say, if Al Pacino stays attached to the project and it actually comes to our local cinema, I may go and see it. After all, the plot will probably be nothing like the original. Though it does beg the question WHY?!?!??! It can't match the original, and if it changes the story to get away from it then why name it after it anyway? People have been plagerising it for years anyway...and even if it is as good, I'm betting on whizzyness over class.
The title cheers me up no end, and it's all entirely EXCELLENT AND WONDERFUL and the quote below is being duly treasured:
“There are certain friendships that are sometimes too good and too strong to talk about.”
Damn right, dude.


Copyright 2009 Cinecism. All rights reserved.
Free WordPress Themes Presented by EZwpthemes.
Bloggerized by Miss Dothy