For Reel

Rififi (1955)
June 22, 2015, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Jules Dassin
3.5 Stars
RififiThe famed centerpiece of Jules Dassin’ Rififi is a silent heist sequence that lasts about thirty minutes. It’s a masterpiece of nonverbal communication, both between the characters on screen and what Dassin is able to relate to the audience. The thoughts and anxieties of the criminals are transferred through editing, spatial relationships, and the performances of the actors, and the audience is informed of the processes entailed only as the events are occurring. For a genre that often relishes in characters who posture and talk a big game, it’s a nice change of pace to demonstrate the criminals as simple tradesmen doing their jobs. There isn’t a lot else in the picture that lives up to the masterful heist, which seems more cobbled together than a unified vision–Brute Force, Thieves’ Highway, and even The Naked City feel like they have better determined, understood worlds. The nightclub song that reveals the meaning of the title (roughly translated as “rough and tumble”) seems interested in a psychosexual interpretation of criminal acts, but Dassin all but abandons the idea in favor of discussing the masculine code. Dassin was often interested in exploring the unspoken rules that governed man’s relationship with his fellow man (his later film, La Loi, being the most literal example), but here it seems like his character’s motivations don’t extend far beyond vengeance, with each act seeming like a mere spoke on a cycle of violence.

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: