Monday, November 14, 2011

Le Cinema Francais—Rififi

One of the best heist films ever made is a classic 1955 French one called Rififi. It's the tale of several burglar pals who meticulously plan every aspect of the perfect jewel heist, even what should happen if there is a post heist fallout, which of course there is. Greed and human nature always intervene. Squirm. The pièce de résistance of the film is an extraordinarily tense 28-minute safe-cracking scene that has absolutely no dialogue or music. You can feel their adrenaline, and your palms will become sweaty! This scene—where the thieves drill a hole in the floor of the apartment above the vault—was so accurate that real criminals were copying the clever technique, which prompted the film to be banned in certain countries. There's are loads of these sorts of films including Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Italian Job, Sexy Beast, Ocean's Eleven, Sneakers, The Sting, Snatch, The Thomas Crown Affair, How to Steal a Million, To Catch a Thief, and Topkapi, just to name a few. But Rififi has a certain intelligent austerity to it, and it's really trés fab!

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