Mangin, a police inspector in Paris, leans hard on informants to get evidence on three Tunisian brothers who traffic in drugs. He arrests one, Simon, and his girl-friend Noria. Simon's brothers go to their lawyer. He springs Noria, who promptly steals 2 million francs that belong to the Tunisians. They suspect her of the theft; her life as well as the lawyer's is in danger. Meanwhile, Noria is playing with both the lawyer and Mangin's affections. Mangin is mercurial anyway: intimidating and bloodying suspects, falling for a police commission trainee before flipping for Noria, wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Can he save the lawyer and Noria, and can he convince her to love? Written by
The French make some very fine films. They also make some really pretentious stinkers. This is of the former variety.
A very well acted and directed film. The seediness of the criminals, prostitutes, the lawyer, and the cops is very well portrayed. You do need a scorecard to tell the good guys from the bad guys in this flick. Which would appear to be exactly the response that the director, Maurice Pialat, wishes to elicit.
Sophie Marceau does a fine job portraying the beautiful but ethically and morally empty Noria. It's very evident that she's using Depardieu's character to achieve her own ends. However, Depardieu knows it too, but cannot help himself.
It's Depardieu's movie and he plays his character perfectly. A combination of arrogance, brutality, macho, humor, and vulnerability. You come to realize that for all of his violence, groping women, and swagger that on some level he is a lost innocent. In one scene where he and Noria are in a car making out, he comments that they're acting like a couple of kids. Noria responds something to the effect that that's exactly why it's so good.
The final scene is played out perfectly by the two main characters. Depardieu is perfect in portraying both anger and vulnerability. The viewer is left with a view of the tough guy left broken hearted by the beautiful but empty hearted girl. The movie is about the basic human tragedy and the grave error of living only for one's own appetites.
Very good movie. It gives the initial impression of only being a tough, French cop film. But it's really a morality play which is done in such an artful manner that you barely notice until the ending. It's also very romantic--if only in a failed sense. It appears to me to make the point that love can only live where there is honesty and a willingness to be open and vulnerable. Hence, it's inevitable death in the sordid world of the "Police".
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