Monday, March 17, 2008

True Grit: The French Connection

The unique crime drama that won Best Picture in 1971 is really all that. Gene Hackman won an Oscar for Best Actor for starring as Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle, the classic narc cop for the NYPD, slightly racist and very determined. Roy Scheider plays Detective Buddy Russo, not an extremely deep character, but nonetheless a good one. Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi (the three frogs), Arlene Farber (the woman), Harold Gary (Weinstock), Fredric De Pasquale (the actor), Pat McDermott (the chemist), and Benny Marino (the mechanic) are the players in "The French Connection", a heroin trade for tons of cash, and the plot revolves around Doyle and Russo trying to stop them. Two particularly brilliant sequences are the lesser train "outsmarting" sequence with Hackman and Rey, and the famous train/car sequence with Bozzuffi and again Hackman (this one especially outstanding). Overall, this movie was too brief, even though it topped out at 104 minutes (1 hour and 44 minutes), and some of the French interactions were boring. The ending was a low point, because you think the movie ends with a gunshot, which is great, but they added on 15 seconds of epilogue footage that was unnecessary and damaging to the flow of the movie. Disregarding that, this movie is great, with outstanding performances from Hackman, Scheider, and Rey. A nice portrait of New York at it's grittiest. A-

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