After making such American noir classics as The Naked City and Brute Force, blacklisted director Jules Dassin went to Paris and embarked on a tale of four ex-cons who hatch one last glorious robbery in the City of Light.
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Jules Dassin's masterpiece is an absolut crime film classic. The heist sequence - nearly 30 minutes without words and music - is incredible and tense, the nightclub scene with the performance of the title song develops aorund iconic shadow visuals. Besides, the movie comes with one of George Auric's finest film music scores.
It's 11pm on a Tuesday and I pop in Rififi to see what all the fuss is about, fully expecting to fall asleep and finish the film in the morning. By 1am on Wednesday morning I was wide awake and had just loved every second of this movie. Its coolness holds up like an Otter Pop in a subzero freezer. The heist is the best, but the rest of Rififi is absolutely incredible. I need more sleep.
1950s misogyny: The "hero" of the film makes a woman take off her clothes and then he beats her with a belt, leaving scars. The audience is led to believe that she deserved it. In another scene, a hat check girl is manhandled gratuitously, and seems to enjoy that. Whenever a woman appears onscreen, it is only as a prop. Too mid-century Hollywood-ish for my taste, but the last scene is tremendous and very memorable.
One of the quintessential French crime films, 'Rififi' has lost none of its power to impress and thrill. The heist sequence is thoroughly impressive and its influence on cinema can't be denied but the film is full of outstanding sequences. #Essential cinema.
comparable to jean-pierre melville's le doulos and bob le flambeur (his two best films) if not even better. jules dassin was a hard-boiled director when he wanted to be, and this film (as brute force, the night and the city, celuit qui doit mourir and many others) proves it better than anything.