A detective decides to go undercover and set up a group of robbers, but he may be getting too caught up in the task at hand.A detective decides to go undercover and set up a group of robbers, but he may be getting too caught up in the task at hand.A detective decides to go undercover and set up a group of robbers, but he may be getting too caught up in the task at hand.
Claude Sautet, from what I have gathered, is known for his dealing with the bourgeoisie's turmoils, often depicting complex social dramas in his films. Prior to watching 'Max et les ferrailleurs', I had only seen another great film he made with Michel Piccoli - Les Choses de la Vie, which is indeed quite different from 'Max'. The subjects and genres might differ, yet Sautet ingeniously manages to create intriguing character studies (as both films have fascinating protagonists) and, while at that, to depict perplexing and powerful love stories, which help shape the protagonists' moral portraits.
I won't insist on the plot; suffice to say that the film does not get dull at any time and it also does not fall into a standard, clichéd policier. Max, the protagonist, could be compared to Melville's Le Samourai, insofar as both are cold, meticulous, obsessive and enigmatic. The baddies - the 'junkmen'- are also well individualized, and here I should point out the excellent scene where policeman Rosinsky talks about each of them. Last but not least, there's also the divine Romy Schneider: between us, I wasn't able to take my eyes off her whenever she was in front of the camera.
One more aspect that amazed me about the film was the fluent and elegant camera-work, which had an immense impact on creating the film's atmosphere. Although I'm not by any means technical literate, the composition of the shots struck me as carefully planned and the lightning was spot-on.
In a nutshell, 'Max et les ferrailleurs' is more than you'd be inclined to think: it's gritty and elegant at the same time, it's brutal and sensual, it's a thrilling crime movie and a complex character study, in short it is what a good film must be. Don't miss it!
- Aug 1, 2015