“Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle)” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 16
“It’s the difference between an amateur and a professional. And, despite all appearances, I’m not professional.”
Having seen Le Samourai not too long ago in the challenge, it was easy to compare to while watching this film.
Alain Delon might as well be the same guy – same deadpan, same trenchcoat, another career criminal… just minus a hat and added mustache. I suppose director Jean-Pierre Melville just really likes the guy’s look.
Where Le Samourai was able to tell its story fairly tautly, this film unfortunately feels way too long and drawn out. The high points (the train escape and the heist) are proportionally such small amounts of the movie. It feels ripe for a modern American remake to do the story better justice – which it appears may haappen.
MILD SPOILERS BELOW
I wish that just once the French cops wouldn’t get their man.
I wanted Corey to succeed. As the audience, you want the crime to go off without a hitch, and he and his cohorts to make off with the goods scott-free. I felt swindled by the sudden ending. It made me feel like the entire movie was for nothing. All they went through – down the drain in the last 2 minutes of the movie. Irritating.
Le Cercle Rouge was at the time of this review at #180 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #387 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Le Cercle Rouge vs. Brotherhood of the Wolf
It’s an 18th century French fairy tale, and it’s pretty great, actually. Dark, adventurous, and a little scary. It’ll win over Le Cercle Rouge.
Le Cercle Rouge vs. Russkies
There are a whole bunch of Cold War paranoia movies in the 80s, and Russkies is one that’s strangely aimed at a young audience. I watched it as a kid and enjoyed it, but it’s no great accomplishment. Le Cercle Rogue wins.
Le Cercle Rouge vs. Eraserhead
Eraserhead is really, really weird. It might be the weirdest movie ever made. For that, it gets some clout. It’ll win over Le Cercle Rogue.
Le Cercle Rouge vs. Last Action Hero
Last Action Hero was misunderstood and has been largely forgotten. It probably would have done much better now with an audience used to metatextual filmmaking (not to mention advertising and other forms of entertainment). It’ll take the matchup over Le Cercle Rogue.
Le Cercle Rouge vs. Southland Tales
Another film that basically nobody understood. It teeters on the edge of awful and brilliant, so I give Southland Tales points for swinging for the fences and at least attempting something bizarre and different. It’ll win the battle.
Le Cercle Rouge vs. The Secret of NIMH
I didn’t see The Secret of NIMH as a kid – instead I first watched it alongside my children. It was much darker and violent than I expected, but it was full of a vibrant art style and emotional punch. It’ll beat Le Cercle Rouge.
Le Cercle Rouge vs. The Spirit
Yeah, The Spirit is not good. Not good at all. Anyone who’s bothered to watch it will agree. Le Cercle Rouge wins.
Le Cercle Rouge vs. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
I am not a fan of Adam McKay’s films or Will Ferrell, so Le Cercle Rouge will mop up the floor with Talladega Nights. It’s terribly unfunny.
Le Cercle Rouge vs. Outland
I wasn’t crazy about Outland earlier in the challenge, but I like Connery and the sci-fi setting. It’ll take the matchup.
Le Cercle Rouge is now ranked #1032 out of 1401 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next week I’ll be watching Young Frankenstein, The City of Lost Children, and Blue Velvet. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.