Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Le Cercle Rouge (1970), directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.

A paroled convict given a crime opportunity by a guard. An escaped prisoner. The police inspector on his trail. An alcoholic ex-policeman with the DTs, maybe with a chance at redemption as a thief. Who are these people?

This might be confusing were it not for our knowledge that it is a heist film, and all the threads will come together for the crime. That's the "red circle": everyone is bound together in the heist. We have to learn the plan as it develops.

We're used to a convention of such films: how will the cunning plan go wrong? This is a good reminder that it's not just the thieves who suffer setbacks: the police and crime bosses also have reverses.

Tremendous 1960s Euro look, filmed in the streets and on real locations, with a distinctive color scheme similar to the director's Le Samouraï (1967), also with Alain Delon.

Lots of American cars. Does this suggest the classic crime or gangster film? The heist itself is about 30 minutes without dialogue, similar to the treatment in a another French film: Rififi (1955).

Criterion Blu-ray.