Tim Purtell
April 26, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Bob Le Flambeur

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
102 minutes
performer
Daniel Cauchy, Isabelle Corey, Roger Duchesne
director
Jean-Pierre Melville
author
Jean-Pierre Melville
genre
Foreign Language, Drama

We gave it a B+

Director Jean-Pierre Melville’s influential film about a world-weary inveterate gambler (the titular Bob, underplayed nicely by Roger Duchesne) who plots a casino robbery with his underworld cronies could superficially be tagged a heist flick. But Melville is less interested in pacing suspense than in exercising an enthrallment with American culture and prewar Paris, while simultaneously exploring the possibilities of on-the-fly filmmaking that sparked the new wave of Truffaut and Godard. Unpredictably plotted and eccentrically edited, it’s a wry meditation on male camaraderie that’s closer to Huston’s ”Asphalt Jungle” than to either version of ”Ocean’s Eleven.” The digital transfer restores a silvery sheen to Henri Decae’s black-and-white cinematography (the neon of rue Pigalle looks luscious), and the sparse extras include a 1961 radio Q&A with the now-deceased director as well as a brief but nifty interview with actor Daniel Cauchy, who recalls just how spontaneous the low-budget production was. Were he alive, Melville would probably really dig digital video.

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