After just two films, I’m starting to think Jean-Pierre Melville is one of my favorite directors and Alain Delon one of my favorite actors.

Le Cercle Rouge pairs up these two guys successfully again, much like Le Samourai. In fact, much of the film feels pretty similar. The colors, the style, the setting. Its urban Paris in the 60s/70s. Delon is in swanky clothes. I want a freakin cool gray trench.

Unlike Le Samourai, which focused on the solitary life of Delon’s lead, Le Cercle Rouge has different souls converging onto the same path, with interesting results. An early scene where Delon goes to a billiards hall has the camera showing a bird’s eye view of Delon knocking around 2 white balls and 1 red ball. A sort of karmic statement about the progression of the storyline. The same goes for the intro, whereas Le Samourai had some Bushido code, this time Buddha gets drafted for that sense of Asian exoticism. Both these little blips were completely invented by Melville by the by.

Delon is Corey, a convict who is given a job by the prison guard of all people just as he is released. Delon decides to follow up on this and wittingly harbors the fugitive Vogel on the run, played by Gian Maria Volonte. They then enlist the help of a former police marksman, Yves Montand’s Jansen. All this while, police inspector Mattei, played by Andre Bourvil, uses his varying degrees of cunning to flush out his main target Vogel, who’d slipped from under his watch at the start of the film. Eventually, it all comes to a head, but not after the enthralling heist sequence amid random musings about fate and the corruption of humanity. Its philosophical, a little fatalistic but utterly cool and awesome.

Alain Delon replete with tache.

Apparently, Johnnie To is set to do a remake of the film, starring Orlando Bloom and possibly Chow Yun Fat, Liam Neeson and Alain Delon again. I don’t think Bloom can hold a candle to Delon but nonetheless, my interest remains piqued.

Advertisements