Un Flic

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Simon (Richard Crenna) is an ace criminal with no respect for the law, he feels he can overcome it at will and so far, he has been able to. He leads three other men in a bank robbery in a small town and of course, Simon has it planned to the second. Even when one of the men is wounded, the plan unfolds on time and the four men escape with ease, as well as a whole lot of cash, of course. The men then bury the stash of money in a remote location, as it is just part of a larger plan, with a much larger payoff. Simon has great skills to be sure, but he still has to keep an eye out for the authorities, including his good friend Coleman (Alain Delon). Coleman happens to be a detective as well as Simon’s friend, so of course, it makes for a most unusual friendship, to say the least. As Simon prepares his grandest scheme ever and Coleman tries to remain true to his oath as a police officer, a woman (Catherine Denueve) comes into the picture and of course, both men fall head over heels for her. As time closes in on the massive operation, what will happen to this most odd collection of people?

If you’re a fan of the crime caper genre, then you have reason to rejoice, as Anchor Bay has released Un Flic, the final film from genre master Jean-Pierre Melville. This film grabs your attention at the start and refuses to let go, as it never slows enough to allow you to rest your eyes or brain. I think this is a fantastic movie and a great film noir, but the appeal is not limited to fans of those genres. Melville was a true master of this genre and it shows here, as he offers up a picture that goes beyond normal limits, to pull in all sorts of viewers. You should see Un Flic if you’re a fan of cinema to be sure, even if film noirs and crime capers aren’t your usual cup of tea. I know some would push this aside as a genre movie and it is, but it also more than that, without enough visual power, great performances, and superb moments to make it worthwhile to even the mainstream audiences, which is no simple task. If you’re in doubt, just watch the opening scenes of Un Flic and then you’ll be hooked, without a doubt. This disc from Anchor Bay has minimal extras, but sports an excellent visual transfer and as such, is well worth a rental or purchase.

This might have been his final picture, but at least Jean-Pierre Melville closed his career on a triumphant note. His resume isn’t expansive by any means, but he directed many superb genre pictures, to be sure. His work has been studied by film scholars and movie buffs, as well as influenced filmmakers of all kinds. But his name is not a household one, which is a shame, as all film lovers should make sure to visit Melville’s cinematic efforts. In Un Flic, Melville is able to hone the genre conventions to sheer perfection, but he ensures non genre fans will also have plenty to like, which is impressive. Other films directed by Melville include Bob the Gambler, The Red Circle, Second Breath, The Shadow Army, and Le Samourai. The cast includes Alain Delon (Girl on a Motorcyle, The Black Tulip), Richard Crenna (First Blood, The Sand Pebbles), and Catherine Deneuve (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Belle de Jour).

Video: How does it look?

Un Flic is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a superb visual treatment, complete with accurate tone replication and a pristine source print. I was stunned to see such a clean, sharp vision of this movie, as it has never looked even close to this good before. The film’s washed out blue texture is well presented here, which means things look a little off, but you’ll quickly get used to the intended scheme, I think. No serious issues at all seem to surface with this transfer, it simply doesn’t get much better than this. I saw no compression errors or other problems, so kudos to Anchor Bay for this excellent visual presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

The film’s original French soundtrack is presented via a mono option, which seems more than adequate in this case. I heard no hiss, distortion, or other age related flaws, which is of course, fantastic news. The music is smooth and well placed, while sound effects sound as good as can be expected, given the limits of mono. I was unable to detect any errors with dialogue either, as vocals were clean and always at a proper volume. This disc also includes optional English subtitles, in case you’ll need those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes some talent files, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.

Disc Scores