Le Cercle Rouge
(M) Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1970. 140 min | Drama, Thriller
Impassive faces, snap-brim hats, dangling cigarettes, sunglasses after dark, raincoats without rain and nightclub floor shows. We’re unmistakably in the milieu of Jean-Pierre Melville, doyen of the New Wave and prince of the fate-haunted French gangster picture (Bob Le Flambeur, Le Samourai). Here, for his penultimate work in the genre, three archetypal tough guys join forces for a meticulously orchestrated heist of a Place Vendome bijouterie, a silent tour-de-force in the grand movie tradition of Rififi, Topkapi, and The Asphalt Jungle.