Class Tous Risques

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 16, 2015

The first fifteen minutes of this film are perfect, propulsive, really astounding. This is pulse-quickeningly kinetic stuff, but it’s carefully judged too, with incidents that lead logically—not quite inexorably, as that’s for the tragic/inevitable, the inevitable/tragic ending—to next events, with surprises that make sense upon further reflection. Boy can these guys escape from the scene of the crime! It’s so resourceful, so thrilling. Their many-staged flight resolves really shockingly. There’s an emotional component too, an emotional consequence. It brings the narrative to a proper, necessary moral shift. How can you go on without your wife and children?

We might have our hopes up for a while—protagonism’s amorality, part forever—but the entire course of this movie is really a long and twisted Passion, finally and properly and satisfyingly ending in Ventura’s death. Mind you, this isn’t any G-Men-like finger wagging, nor really Le Jour Se Leve-like fatalism. This is another José Giovanni project, so it’s all milieu, the portrayal of a specialized kind of professionalism, a specialized, sometimes chivalric, sometimes contradictory or sell-‘em’-down-the-river code. Your career expectancy is going to be limited! Which also means, or in other words, they’re gonna kill you. Interesting goings-on with this dame—it’s hard to be a woman in film noir. The Ventura-Belmondo bond has some of the excessiveness that John Woo used to indulge in. This is way cooler in temperature. It’s still excessive.