Bob, an old gangster and gambler is almost broke, so he decides in spite of the warnings of a friend, a high official from the police, to rob a gambling casino in Deauville. Everything is planned exactly, but the police is informed about the planned coup. Meanwhile in the Casino Bob starts to gamble.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Absent of the stylization of "Le Samurai" and not as gritty or violent as crime thrillers of the 60's, "Bob the Gambler", from Jean Pier Melville, is none the less an important film historically for it's influence on the crime genre, heist films specifically. However, how does it hold up as a film?
Certainly there is sufficient build up to the heist. We see every step of the planning, with plenty of twists and turns leading up to it, and once things get started, the suspense is certainly there, though without giving anything away, the suspense doesn't come the way one would expect it to, but the tension is definitely there. There is violence, though not a whole lot, and it's obscured, so don't expect much in the way of high octane gun action.
While the sections of the film dealing with the heist itself, the planning, build up and execution would all be enough to make this a fine film, what elevates it even more is the characterization. Bob is a a retired criminal, who all ready served twenty years in prison. Now friends with a cop and living seemingly straight, he's none the less prone to gambling and losing. He takes a father like role to Paulo, who aspires to be like him, and takes a liking to a young woman, Anne. He's seemingly a good person, willing to help others whenever he can. However, when he loses most of his fortune on a foolish bet, he gets a team together for a grand scale heist. This film is about more than a heist, it's about a flawed man whose vices will ensure he is never completely on the straight and narrow. Paulo also falls prey to his desire to win over and impress Anne, at any cost. The highlight of the film for me is the characters, fully realized and done justice by fantastic performances from everyone involved. I won't spoil the ending, but it's one of those endings that makes you completely rethink your earlier perceptions.
Cinematography, while not as amazing as "Le Samurai", is still something to appreciate, with clear influences from American crime and noir films.
SHould be approached as more of a crime drama than a full out, action packed heist film. Definitely recommended.
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