Critic Reviews



Based on 8 critic reviews provided by
Fred Zinnemann’s The Day of the Jackal is one hell of an exciting movie. I wasn’t prepared for how good it really is: it’s not just a suspense classic, but a beautifully executed example of filmmaking. It’s put together like a fine watch. The screenplay meticulously assembles an incredible array of material, and then Zinnemann choreographs it so that the story--complicated as it is--unfolds in almost documentary starkness.
Fox is superb as the coldly impassionate killer, and Lonsdale is properly plodding yet magnificently analytical as the detective tracking him down. A taut, suspenseful, and fascinating political thriller.
Terrific escapist entertainment...It's a polished and exciting thriller, mercifully unburdened with heavy political/philosophical digressions.
In one of the movie’s most famous scenes, Fox practices with his specially engineered rifle (which has been built into a pair of crutches), and as he takes his shots at a practice melon, he keeps tweaking the aim. It all looks very cool, until Fox finishes his adjustments, and fires a bullet that makes this stand-in for de Gaulle’s head explode.
There is true beauty in the realism at the heart of what could come across a fanciful movie plot, with its documentarian coolness of execution, the crisp rhythms of Zinnemann’s direction, we feels we are staring through a window into the shadowy recesses of history.
The major asset of the film is that it succeeds in maintaining interest and suspense despite obvious viewer foreknowledge of the outcome.
Low on documentary conviction and political context, but an intriguing exercise in concealing the obvious.
The details are minutely observed and, to me, just a bit boring.

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