Max is a Paris detective, aloof, independently wealthy, and frustrated by gangs of robbers whom he cannot catch. To re-establish his stature and save face, he decides to inveigle a group of petty thieves (led by an old acquaintance) to rob a bank.
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The characters here are powerful, split into dominants and victims--cats and mice. Romy Schneider's role as Lily was seductive and sympathetic, a needed foil to Michel Piccoli's puppetmaster Max. On reflection, MATJM was an interesting and well-made crime story with haunting paradigms of excess. Perhaps not inspired like Melville or Hitchcock's best, but one to watch and think about.
This movie is about an entrapment scheme by a frustrated cop. The most interesting aspect of that scheme is the psychological manipulation of the girlfriend of one of the gangsters, played by the incredible Romy Schneider.
The engine that makes this go is the charisma of the leads. No one has ever furrowed a brow or smoke a cigarette quite like Michel Piccoli. Romy Schneider isn't given much to do here but she glows and her scenes with Piccoli are terrific. François Périer -- a legendary supporting man -- is also in fine form. As for the ending (which I won't reveal), it has me thinking maybe there's more substance here than I thought.
I was completely unfamiliar with Sautet until this year, which is odd having discovered Godard and others ~14 years ago. I have watched quite a few of his films this year and this was one of the more intriguing. Piccoli is his usual solid self. Romy was a knockout as usual and the perfect counterpoint to Piccoli's detective character. All in all, an impressive work. Worth seeking out. 3.5 stars
The plot is too absurd to take seriously, and film looks like every 70s American cop drama, with the bad dialogue and all. Basically, a gang gets the best of a cop (oh yeah, an independently wealth cop; what?!?!) and he decides to hatch an overly elaborate scheme to get a small time bunch of hoods to commit another bank robbery to....well I don’t know, really. Completely ridiculous.
Der agent provocateur und die Unwägbarkeit der Gefühle: wer mit anderen spielt, wird selbst zum Opfer. Einer der besten policiers aus Frankreich, unterkühlt gespielt, präzise inszeniert und mit wunderbaren Schauspielern in authentischem Ambiente umgesetzt. Ein filmisches Vorbild für die Inszenierung einer konzisem Geschichte mit unerwartetem Ausgang. Letzten Endes: ein sehr französischer Fim in bester Tradition.