original film poster
|Directed by||Jean-Pierre Melville|
|Produced by||Robert Dorfmann|
|Written by||Jean-Pierre Melville|
|Music by||Michel Colombier|
|Edited by||Patricia Nény|
|October 1972 (France)|
|Country||France / Italy|
1,464,806 admissions (France)
Delon had previously worked with Melville on Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge playing the role of a criminal. In Un Flic Delon's role was reversed. He plays the cop, Edouard Coleman, this time in pursuit of Simon, a notorious Paris thief, who is very hard to pin down.
Delon's character in Un Flic, perhaps in part borrowing from the detective Maigret, shifts between respected police commissioner and an ashamed assassin whose main motivation is pride. At the end to the film, Coleman (Delon) turns his head away from Simon (Crenna) as he falls helplessly to the street side on an early Paris morning, then looks around the empty streets to see who has witnessed the crime of his police duties. Coleman is one of Delon's most masterly performances.
"The only feelings mankind has ever inspired in policemen are those of indifference and derision..." (Eugène-François Vidocq)
Four men rob a bank in Saint-Jean-de-Monts. A detective (Delon) tries to catch the team responsible for the lethal bank robbery, foil a drug smuggling operation and hold on to his girlfriend (Deneuve), whom he shares with a nightclub owner (Crenna), his friend and a prime suspect in the robbery.
The notoriety and shared knowledge between the players intensifies into the film, similar to a le Carré adaptation with the protagonists confronting each other at the climax of the story. The short stories and anecdotes that lead viewers to the conclusion, become a melange of real time actions scenes and non verbal interactions that hint at spy mystery, while remaining open to the viewer's interpretation.
In one scene, all three protagonists can be seen at a bar, sharing a drink and glancing at each other as strangers, each one guarding his or her real identity. Hence Melville's license to play with characters and plots to leave space for the film genre to shine through. The nightclub owner dies when the cop shoots him. It is then revealed that the owner had no gun when he pulled on his coat ("Think you fired a bit too soon"). The cop is too caught up in being a good cop to see his work as police brutality, yet is left to his cold reason that it is his job and he will do it again.
Cast and crew
- Alain Delon as Commissaire Edouard Coleman
- Richard Crenna as Simon
- Catherine Deneuve as Cathy
- Riccardo Cucciolla as Paul Weber
- Michael Conrad as Louis Costa
- Paul Crauchet as Morand
- Simone Valère as Paul's wife
- André Pousse as Marc Albouis
- Jean Desailly as Distinguished gentleman who was robbed of a statue
- Valérie Wilson as Gaby
- Henri Marteau as Police officer instructor of shooting
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