peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2024 02 19 UnFlic

Un Flic (A Cop) (1972)

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More Melville completism. This one is notionally about Alain Delon's Parisian policeman but of course more screen time is spent on the heists. The demimonde is cursorily drawn and essentially embodied by Catherine Deneuve. She appears to share herself with Delon and arch crim Richard Crenna but the whole thing is entirely sexless despite the acres of flesh on show at her nightclub. In colour.

Both heists are more pedestrian than those Melville has showed us before (e.g., Le Cercle Rouge). Initially we're on the Atlantic Coast at some deserted condo with just one thing open: a bank. (It put me in mind of Louis Malle's Atlantic City, perhaps also because Deneuve has some of the aspect of Susan Sarandon.) Notionally they're after the mountain of payroll cash but how can that be when there's nobody around? The special effects for the second heist (on a train entered via a helicopter) were not very convincing. Crenna spends most of his time in that sequence getting dressed... who would bother now? Nothing is made of the mountain of white powder he recovers; perhaps it stands for the changing of the times.

Delon did OK as the dissolute cop. There's a beaut interlude where he serenades Deneuve on the piano at her club, where the movie gestures at what could've been. The ending is a bust, much like Le deuxième souffle: everyone was too smart to be that dumb.