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THE CONNECTION (#TIFF14 Review)

TIFF14 BTHE CONNECTION
Written by Cédric Jimenez and Audrey Diwan
Directed by Cédric Jimenez
Starring Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche
 

John Cusack: Pierre? It’s me, John Cusack!

In 1971, William Friedkin released his Oscar-winning film THE FRENCH CONNECTION. The film detailed the infamous French Connection drug ring, which had smugglers bringing heroine into New York from France. In THE CONNECTION (La French) by director Cédric Jimenez (AUX YEUX DE TOUS), the story is taken across the globe to Marseilles, France, where the drug ring was based.

Jean Dujardin (THE ARTIST) stars as magistrate Pierre Michel, who takes on the daunting role of handling the French Connection case. On the other side of the tracks is Gaetan Zampa (Gilles Lellouche, who previously starred with Dujardin in LITTLE WHITE LIES), the kingpin of the Marseilles drug-trade.

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Showing the points of view from both sides of this operation, viewers get a look at how both the police and the criminals operate. Jimenez was obviously inspired by Martin Scorsese’s gangster films when making THE CONNECTION. The film features a sequence that may as well have been directly pulled from CASINO, and while it may sometimes comes off as pastiche, it often works in the background as a friendly homage.

Jimenez shot the film on glorious 35mm film, which adds to the ‘70s look the film is clearly trying to achieve. Dujardin, who is mostly known for his light comedic roles, shows audiences that he has dramatic chops, as he carries this often heavy film very well. And while THE CONNECTION can be a little slow at times, viewers who stick with it will be rewarded with an enthralling crime-drama with a very strong aesthetic. If one can go in without any preconceived notions about Friedkin’s masterpiece, they will definitely be rewarded.

4 sheep

THE CONNECTION @ #TIFF14

Friday, September 12, 6:30 PM, Roy Thomson Hall

Saturday, September 13, 9:00 AM, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

 

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