Posted May 28, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews

The Connection Review

connection-poster1-640x947The last few years has seen crime films set in the past but produced now take over the crime genre, The Black Dahlia, The Wolf Of Will Street and American Hustle being one of the most successful of them, using its star cast to help catch all the kitsch and style of it set ear and to make the film more accessible for it’s modern audiences to watch without, Hustle being the main example using over the top fashions and hairdo, trying to burn the irises with the bright clashing colours and fashions to entrance its audience with the era it is set. However, The Connection, doesn’t pander to it audience, its one of the few films you’ll see where it could have genuinely been made and shot in the 70’s and 80’s but with a modern style filming and shooting without becoming over the top and too in your face.

For all those unfamiliar with The French Connection, the oscar winning 1971 film staring Gene Hackman about the multi-million dollar heroin smuggling between French and America drug lords in the early 1970s, focusing on the America aspect story more, a film which though well made for its time was hollywood passè because the fact that by the time it came out the actual story of what was happening with the drug smuggling was still happening, The Connection is the version of the film where its taken and made from the side of the French perspective, with only small involvement with the American, New York, anti-drugs department and taking the story back to French soil and showing from the French side of it all, basing itself on real events and drawing it back to what The French Connection was based on originally the Robin Moore fictional book.

The Connection, is French/Belguim production showing the story of the decent French police officer who become’s a Police Magistrate, Pierre Michel (played by Jean Dujardin of The Artist) who is on a mission to stop the drug trade which is being run and metropolised by Gaëtan ‘Tany’ Zampa (played by Gilles Lellouch of Little White Lies) in France and stop him by all means necessary in his power.

Both these two main characters are given equally screen time to show their working and home lives, that because of their similar in physical appearance and the pace of the film you can confuse who is, but this adds to the way you understand the two, both see themselves as doing their job, working hard and providing for their families, as the drug Lord Zampa simply sees himself as a business man and Michel sees himself as the man to get the job done that no-one else is willing to do, who was chosen to do so.

There is so much to enjoy about this film, instead of the standard American gangster film, this doesn’t feel as its a gangster film, as it doesn’t play with the typical conventions of it main characters, because at different points the two main characters are more caring to their families than their job and succeeding and failing at points, both characters are seen as admiring each other for the fact that despite both wish to stop the other, they respect each other.

What stands out all all those watching this film that its it played out very well and convincingly, as the time-line of the story and characters spans over almost a decade, showing the successes and failings of both characters and the ending of both characters, its first half showing the young and cockiness of both characters, to the middle showing the changes of times and world around the two man and its ending that you see coming and when you look back after see that it was really the only way it could have ended for the two men.

The Connection a boys film, though the female characters are not the typical wives gangster oriented films, both are seen mirroring each other as much as their husbands do to each other, their presence and part in the story helps show the decency of the main male characters, without being the whimsical females who watch as their spouses live double lives and let their work take precedence over their families and their relationships, or being the stereotypical glamour pusses who are only their to set the tone of the fashion and tackiness of the 70’s era.

One of the wonderful things about The Connection is that the way it is filmed and the way that it is shot allows you to feel as if you are watching this from the 70’s, even the way the soundtrack used, to make the rawness and sweatiness of its scenes, to lack of polish on the actors look and the imperfections of the way how it was back in the 70’s, without trying too hard are a credit to it’s director Crédric Jimenez and The Connection production team, and even though I would like to think it is because it is a none Hollywood film that it would have more of a independent backing, it’s film which had a larger than your average budget for a european film but used it well and wisely for its productions, its props and its actors, who were very well directed and produced.

4 Stars



Antonia McGuire