Nobody does it like Melville. And I would have never suspected the lead culprit to be none other than Sam Trautman from Rambo (or rather, Richard Crenna). And that train scene was NOT too long-- via toy trains nonetheless, it is thriving delicious suspense; this isn't James Bond, this is French crime par excellence. Also, Melville hangs out in nightclubs dreams are made of.
I understand that there are people who can suspend disbelief regarding the heist on the train sequence, but I'm not one of them. The first heist scene was fine, so why ruin it all with toy trains and a toy helicopter? It was such a long scene to sit through in the first place. In the end what are we really left with? Sighing and ennui.
Is there a way out of this formalist masterpiece of misogyny suiscide betrayal futility? I doubt it but will go back to Fassbinder Chabrol Rohmer ect to revise who is the best social realist of the present? Apart from Mike Liegh / ken loach, Archipelago captured a very banal tonality but turned it in to a very tense shocker
The only issue I had with this film is that it felt incomplete. But at least it didn't feel rushed or underwhelming in terms of Melville's delivery. Even the obvious illusion of the stunt involving the train and the helicopter was pulled off rather well, not to mention the robbery scene at the beginning intercut with the fog and the cold waves smashing against the hard stone walls.