Thursday, 21 April 2016

The 8th Hall Of Fame Inductee Representing Thriller Film - Rififi (1955) - Jules Dassin

The French word ‘Rififi’ doesn’t really have an English translation accurately befitting the meaning of the word, but rough approximations include fisticuffs, fighting, brawling, trouble and action. All of these are featuring heavily in American exile Jules Dassin’s Rififi, among the greatest of cinematic crime films, and certainly the greatest of the heist film subgenre. Also a fine example of film noir, although much discussion is made about the central heist sequence (which carried a degree of notoriety for a number of years, due to criminals re-enacting the methods used by the characters), the film as a whole is an engaging exercise in immaculate pacing. Notwithstanding the excitement of the film itself, part of the reason the film catches the viewer in that way is because it features such a well-developed diegesis. The characters (so strong on paper and superbly portrayed by the cast) inhabit a decadent, vibrant and at times bleakly brutal world in which you can literally feel a sense of griminess permeating through the screen. Through the cinematic methods of the camera, the montage and the music, we the audience also must bath in this world, but that’s not a problem when you’re totally with the characters in this dark exploration of the human heart. Francois Truffaut once described this as “the best crime film I’ve ever seen.” He might well be right.

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