Entertainment » Movies

Un Flic

by Sam Cohen
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Nov 19, 2019
Un Flic

Filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville was a master at showing the desolation in men as they betray all that's important to them for financial gain. Funny enough, Melville's "Léon Morin, Priest" may be the purest distillation of his approach to a god remaining indifferent to the doings of men. Maybe that's why "Un Flic" is so depressing to watch: It's a film imbued with such tiredness from its actors, plotting and direction that you almost feel Melville breaking down in front of your eyes. Aside from a couple of intricately designed heist sequences, his last film fails to find new life in recurring themes in Melville's oeuvre. Luckily, though, the new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics label sports a sturdy video presentation the likes of which we haven't seen on a home release of the film before.

A Paris police chief named Edouard Coleman (Alain Delon) finds out his friend, nightclub owner Simon (Richard Crenna), is a bank robber. This revelation forces Commissaire Coleman to take action and puts him on the path to make the most difficult decision of his life. Edouard and Simon also share the same woman, Cathy (Catherine Deneuve), which further complicates things.

In "Un Flic," the thrust of the drama is about the power of human relationships in the face of crime. Once you pull off an illegal job at the cost of losing people you love, is there anything left? Melville showcases the struggle in tight compositions and sequences that milk tension out of things that are so simple, like a man changing his clothes. To Edouard and Simon, the struggle is all internal. That's why when the inevitable arrives, it feels like a foregone conclusion to people that were already gone in one way or another. Unfortunately, this scheme of the spiritual falls flatter than the rest of Melville's works. It's a scheme that bears repeating, but here it just seems just as foregone as his characters.

While the new 1080p presentation looks sharp in most shots, it really shows of Melville's icy cool imagery beautifully. A nice layer of film grain has been left in and the film isn't hobbled by digital restoration tools. As for special features, they may be sparse, but there's a terrific one-hour documentary titled "In the Mood for Melville" that goes deep on the director's trademark aesthetic. Asian filmmakers like Tsui Hark and Kim Jee-woon go on to talk about how Melville influenced their own work.

This may not be the best of Melville's crime epics, but it certainly is the best home video release of his last film. Other special features include:

• Audio commentary by film historian Samm Deighan
• Interviews with Jean-Francois Delon (Alain's brother) and Florence Gabin (Jean's daughter)
• Theatrical trailer

"Un Flic"
Kino Lorber Blu-ray

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