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So Long, Stooge (1983)

Tchao pantin (original title)
Lambert, a burned-out case, works the night shift at a gas station, rarely speaking, living alone, drinking. Bensoussan, raised in foster homes, now a small-time pusher for a bar owner ... See full summary »



(novel), (scenario) | 1 more credit »
5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview:
Coluche ...
Mahmoud Zemmouri ...
Philippe Léotard ...
Albert Dray ...
Ben Smaïl ...
Pierrick Mescam ...
First client service station
Mickaël Pichet ...
Annie Kerani ...
Black Lady
Vincent Martin ...
Second customer service station


Lambert, a burned-out case, works the night shift at a gas station, rarely speaking, living alone, drinking. Bensoussan, raised in foster homes, now a small-time pusher for a bar owner named Rashid, comes to the station needing a spark plug for a stolen Moped. He and Lambert connect somehow, and a few days later, they go for a drink. The young man is too cavalier, and when he swipes Rashid's fancy motorcycle a couple of times, he's expendable. Lambert decides to avenge the young man and seeks information from Lola, a punk who knew Bensoussan. With surprising perseverance, she pierces Lambert's shell; he starts to feel again, tells Lola his story, and finds new enthusiasm for life. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Release Date:

21 December 1983 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Am Rande der Nacht  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Featured in Un jour, un destin: La face cachée de Coluche (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Great policier!
10 September 2009 | by (Capital, Buenos Aires, Argentina) – See all my reviews

Sometimes, the "magic" of cinema seems to take hold of us.

The two main characters are superb. So is cinematography. Everything is "in the dark, humid, without hope". Lanky Lola (1.78 m), while providing the inevitable love interest, is quite gelid and stolid, so her beauty (rain scene!, she awakening chez Lambert!) is not overtly "too much".

Bensoussan is a stupid kid, while Lambert... what a script! This should be required viewing for budding plot writers. He speaks seldomly, bluntly, seemingly without passion, world wearily, like a philosopher who decided to toss the world aside, as "a useless hypothesis". Gradually we get to know his intentions, which are not clear from the beginning (he's a master at deception :)!), but make sense afterwards. Unlike many Hollywood commercial thrillers, that try to be witty and only end up being preposterous. Or "revenge" films alla Stallone and Bronson, without any emotion because there's nothing to "balance" the killing spree.

This is a "cartesian" movie. "Clear and disc tint" ideas. If issued by a "gas station clerk", well, that's the master's disguise!

The Paris we witness is not the postcard's or Bardot's: everything is seedy, "the system" is rotten, like the copper Bauer's synthesis near the end: "There'll always be another one".

The ending is fine! Seldomly had I thought: "this should end right here", and it did.

IMDb reviewers agree on Bruno Nuytten (DP)'s work. Luckily enough, I hadn't read those reviews, and while watching even the first minutes I said: "what a good 'atmosphere'". That's a good work: noticeable even without "knowing it's something important".

Berri doing this shows a hidden potential. Pity he didn't do more of the genre! Maybe he "needed" all this "sun drenched Southern France" to make one "night" film...

I agree with IMDb reviewers like gregory-joulin about its two-part structure, and with Bob Taylor that probably the first part is the best. But I admit it: I felt more with the second. "Plot holes"? Many. But who won't remember the "murder by the small filling station" or the way he swiftly avoids Bauer's questioning. Unassuming, without hesitating, thus lethally. Just like what follows suit...

I liked his "method of interrogation": breaking the mobster's motorbike (not the man). And the way he answers to Bauer on why he was't working: (seeming concerned) "With all that happened, I had to take a few days off".

(About this film) Lambert would just quip: "Watch it".

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