Tuesday, May 11, 2010
In Haste: The French Connection
One moment. Two seconds at most. That's all The French Connection needs to prove it's worth.
William Friedkin's pre-Exorcist excursion is fantastically intense. Almost heroically, the film is able to accomplish this feat without 21st century computering, or intense character profiling. We are taken on this journey because we believe it. This is no James Bond, John McClane, or even the quasi-realistic Jason Bourne series. This is our world; the world where walls break you before you break them.
Back to the moment. Right before the iconic train-car chase, Popeye (Gene Hackman's character) is getting coozy with a brick wall, trying to evade the sights of the looming sniper above. As he edges his way towards the corner of the building, Popeye passes various apartment building windows. In one window, two kids playfully observe Popeye in his distress. They don't understand the consequences of the moment, and so they snicker to one another. And just like that Popeye has squirreled past the window.
That moment pierced my retinas as something especially realistic. That, and oh, the whole end game.
Sigh... how I do love 70's cinema.