The Red Circle (Le Cercle Rouge)

Rated NR 140 minutes 2003

Jean-Pierre Melville's austere heist film, made in 1970, was his next to last; it opens with a Buddhist aphorism about fate binding two men to meet again, and ends with a police chief pronouncing all men ultimately guilty. Two prisoners return to society—Corey (Alain Delon) has served his sentence and is released, while Vogel (Gian Maria Volonte) escapes from a speeding train. They team up with a sharpshooting ex-cop to mount an exquisite jewel theft. Melville renders the taciturn crooks and corrupt inspectors with the nocturnal blue palette that is his signature. Key action points are edited with finesse, but the denouement, with its dutiful hail of gunfire, is heartless and mechanical. With Yves Montand, Andre Bourvil, and Francoise Perier. In French with subtitles.

Film Credits

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

Writer: Jean-Pierre Melville

Producer: Robert Dorfmann and John Woo

Cast: Yves Montand, Alain Delon, Gian Maria Volonte, Andre Bourvil and Francois Perier

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