1955, Movies

Du Rififi Chez Le Hommes (1955, Jules Dassin)

This is a pretty classic French heist film with a pretty great set piece at the centre and more plot than you might expect.

So the film feels pretty dated to start, with a hilariously over-the-top score and some fairly inexplicable domestic violence. Your mileage with this stuff will vary. I’m not sure I would have noticed the domestic violence without Jenn, just because I’ve seen too many of these films.

But things kick into pretty high gear once the planning for the heist starts. There are some bizarre plot holes and omissions – for example, they don’t identify the date or day they will do it while they are talking about doing it – but it’s still engrossing.

But it’s the heist itself, which is great, and a classic. The score completely cuts out for the heist scene and the film is nearly silent, with only the sounds the thieves make (which they worry will trigger the alarm). There’s also a pretty great elevator shot at the beginning of the heist but it’s the whole thing that is just classic.

There’s a lot more to the film than the heist itself, and the aftermath doesn’t work quite as well, even if it feels at least a little distinct for a heist film. (Usually, rounding up the thieves is a reason for the thieves to commit a heist, in modern films.) But there are still some neat moments including some use of shaky camera.

Still, the reason to watch the movie is the heist scene and how it stands out from the rest of the film. There are a few too silly moments outside of the heist itself for the film to be an absolute classic, in my mind. Both in the heist prep and in the climax of the film (which is basically another genre). The heist itself is just an absolute classic.


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