2016 Blind Spot Series: The French Connection


What I knew going in: That it was a big Oscar winner. 

Doyle ( Gene Hackman) and Russo (Roy Scheider) are two narcotics cops attempting to bust a big heroin ring. Doyle is a bit of an alcoholic, and sometimes their tracking methods aren't exactly by the book.

There's a lot of prestige around this movie, and I felt a little bad that I thought the beginning was so slow. I didn't find myself that interested in the crime at large here. It's not until about 40 minutes from the end that this movie really steps its game up and becomes incredible.

It's very much a Friedken film. I always say he's a bit of a horrifying director in that he has some startling imagery. He does here too. Even though we don't have Regan from the Exorcist or the paranoia of Bug, he manages to be very forceful, especially in scenes involving Doyle chasing a subject. 

Hackman is excellent here. You undoubtedly side with him as he's trying to bust someone for drugs, but he's such an unlikable guy it makes you question it. The score fits perfectly, but I wish the first hour of this film was as exciting as the last. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Pay attention, we're gonna ask questions later!"- Russo (Roy Scheider)

19 comments:

  1. A great, gritty film from a great, gritty decade. Also worth checking out is the Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

    That said, I haven't seen this film for years and can't quite remember whether I too found the opening to be slow.

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    1. I think I actually saw part of the remake of One Two Three, I'm sure the original is much better.

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    2. I'd also recommend the original Pelham One Two Three. It's tense but also clever, the remake while it isn't awful suffers in comparison mostly because of Travolta's ridiculously over the top villain replacing Robert Shaw's ice cold sociopath.

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  2. Damn, Brittani. This is one that has been on my list forever, but I've never seen a minute of it. And honestly, it's been so long since I've seen Hackman, this might be the perfect way to remedy that, too.

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    1. I just wish I liked the first half of it as much as I liked the 2nd.

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  3. I really liked this film. Not sure if you've seen "To Live and Die in LA," but if I recall correctly, the car chase is even crazier in that film. Both films are very Freidkin-esque.

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    1. I haven't seen that one. I'll have to look into it.

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  4. I'm so behind on my Blindspot movies! I saw this not too long ago and liked it quite a bit. I know people regard this as one of the best classics, but I think it was good but not great. So yeah, B sounds about right.

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    1. I definitely wouldn't call it one of the bests either.

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  5. I haven't seen this in so many years that it might as well be a Blind Spot for me. I remember feeling about like you though. It's really great in parts but slow to get going. Great write-up!

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  6. I did this one for my Blind Spot list last year and I love every minute of it. Sorry you feel that way about the first hour, but it worked for me as a perfect set-up for the second hour.

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    1. I'm glad it worked better for you, I'm just thankful that it did eventually pick up.

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  7. This is one of the rare Best Picture winners that I really love as I still get chills off of that car chase.

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  8. This is such a great down and dirty, gritty to a fault 70's classic. And that chase scene still kicks ass 45 years later.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! It certainly set the bar for good car chases.

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  9. I love that the movie gets the grit of New York City at the time both in look and the feel of the film. I didn't mind the extended set-up of the first part since it paid off so handsomely in the second.

    Gene Hackman is great but it's not just his show, Scheider and Fernando Rey match him and all the other characters feel very organic to the setting.

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    1. The pay off was good, I just wish they would've picked up the pace a bit.

      Things do feel very organic. I read that first car crash they get in was actually real and not planned. They clipped a guy on his way to work.

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