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Choice of Arms (1981)

Le choix des armes (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 19 August 1981 (France)
Two men break out of prison; a rival gang ambushes them. One is mortally wounded and tells the other, Mickey, to take him to the estate of a retired robber, Noel, who lives in comfort with ... See full summary »

Director:

Alain Corneau
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Yves Montand ... Noel Durieux
Gérard Depardieu ... Mickey
Catherine Deneuve ... Nicole Durieux
Michel Galabru ... Bonnardot
Gérard Lanvin ... Sarlat
Jean-Claude Dauphin Jean-Claude Dauphin ... Ricky
Jean Rougerie Jean Rougerie ... Raymond Constantini
Christian Marquand ... Jean
Etienne Chicot ... Roland Davout
Richard Anconina ... Dany
Pierre Forget Pierre Forget ... Serge Olivier
Roland Blanche Roland Blanche ... Fernand
Marc Chapiteau Marc Chapiteau ... Savin
Jean-Claude Bouillaud Jean-Claude Bouillaud ... Andre
Antoine Baud Antoine Baud
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Storyline

Two men break out of prison; a rival gang ambushes them. One is mortally wounded and tells the other, Mickey, to take him to the estate of a retired robber, Noel, who lives in comfort with his lovely and beloved wife, Nicole. The man dies, and Mickey, a menacing hothead, demands money of Noel. A few days later, Mickey returns to the estate, shoots up a dinner party and threatens them again. Noel sends Nicole to an hotel and goes to his old gang to help him hunt down the dangerous Mickey. Mickey has other problems, too, including heartache for a daughter he hardly knows. Young, eager cops tail Nicole, and all are on a complicated collision course. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

19 August 1981 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Choice of Arms See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Girare Le choix des armes (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Since I've Been Loving You
(uncredited)
Written by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones
Performed by Led Zeppelin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
the last film of Alain Corneau's first cinematographic phase
15 April 2007 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

2 prison inmates, Mickey (Gérard Depardieu) and Serge escape from jail. After a trap set by other gangsters that leaves Serge badly injured, the two baddies take refuge to Noël Durieux (Yves Montand), a former gangster who leads a bourgeois life by running a stud farm. After Serge dies from his injuries, Noël has the visit of two cops Sarlat (Gérard Lanvin) and Bonnardot (Michel Galabru) who question him about Mickey and Serge and Noël affirms that he doesn't know anything about them. And things take a darker turn for because he believes Noël betrayed him, Mickey gives him a hard time. Noël has no other choice than to eliminate him.

As the heir of Jean-Pierre Melville and Claude Sautet, Alain Corneau brought to French cinema a crop of very well controlled thrillers in their writing and shooting. "Le Choix Des Armes" is part of this league and a valuable illustration of Corneau's stylish approach of French detective film. Adopting a rather sparse directing and a tight, parallel editing, the filmmaker takes pleasure in introducing the main characters and as the film progresses to deepen their personality. Like the greatest filmmakers, Corneau has his style and his set of themes. Communication is a recurrent theme in his filmography, especially the difficulties and absence of it. We learn that the cute little girl is Mickey's daughter and he had it just before he was jailed. The two cops work with different methods which doesn't make their relationships easy. Mickey and Durieux are caught in a vicious spiral that is the result of a happy misunderstanding: because Mickey thinks that Durieux gave him to the police, Durieux has to come back to his former gangster life to get rid of his protégé. As they obey to their respective emotions, the two men and especially Mickey get embroiled in a ruthless system that dwarfs them and prevents any reconciliation between them. A permanent feature (the infernal system) that affects the main characters in Corneau's previous films like in "Police Python 357" (1976) starring Yves Montand.

This somber story is painstakingly built at all levels from the organization of the scenario to the creation of the sequences. Sometimes, one shot or a few ones are sufficient to Corneau to present us the persona of a character in the film like Dany (a young Richard Anconina)'s dumb wife or the duo of cops between ambitious Sarlat and seasoned, disillusioned Bonnardot. The cast lives up to the demands of the story with Depardieu much better than Montand as impulsive, immature Mickey. Horses in Durieux's domain are an evident symbol. One could also hail scenery discerningly chosen that cement the characters' social position, either it is Noël Durieux's lascivious mansion in the country or Dany's shabby flat in popular suburbs. At that time in 1980-1, rare were the directors who dare to shoot in those high-risk outskirts.

This is excellent stuff and it's well known: it's better not to get bogged down in rut. Otherwise, you'll have nothing to say anymore. Thus, Corneau proved his ability at weaving prime thrillers. His next film, "Fort Saganne" (1984) will go in another cinematographic direction: the epic film.


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