Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today I watched The French Connection for the first time. I have a list of AFI's top 100 films and I'm slowly making my way through them one at a time. I heard many good things about this film, especially about the car chase, but for the most part I may have been too hyped. It is not a bad movie by any means, things are just much different with police procedure today and in cop flicks. You can definitely see the influence The French Connection has had on many police action entertainment since 1971.

The characters were well cast and Friedkin did a great job with his directorial choices, everything just seems rather slow. There is a lot of walking around, building very little suspense. Doyle (Gene Hackman) is actually really bad at tailing people, in a car or on foot. I know it would be easy to lose someone in a busy subway terminal in New York City, but damn, back off a little.

What I always find a little interesting when watching any movie from years ago is how society has changed. There is the usual smoking everywhere (especially great when in a hospital) and the lack of political correctness, but it does not stop there. There is a scene where a couple of guys go and buy round trip airline tickets to Washington DC that is really odd. Not only does the ticket counter girl not ask for I.D., the customer is left to write his, or her, own name on the ticket. I cannot believe that is how things used to be when now we have to show tons of I.D. and take our shoes off before boarding a plane. Weird. I wonder how much things are going to progress thirty years from now. We're not going to be able to go anywhere.

By the way, the car vs. train chase did kick ass.


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