HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Borsalino Felonious Friends Forever
Year: 1970
Director: Jacques Deray
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, Catherine Rouvel, Michel Bouquet, François Christophe, Corinne Marchand, Laura Adani, Nicole Calfan, Hélène Rémy, Odette Piquet, Mario David, Lionel Vitrant, Dennis Berry, Arnoldo Foà, Jean Aron, André Bollet, Pierre Koula
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Marseilles, France, 1930. Fresh out of jail ambitious gangster Roch Siffredi (Alain Delon) goes looking for his beautiful moll Lola (Catherine Rouvel). He finds her shacked up with hotshot new mobster in town, Capella (Jean-Paul Belmondo). After a riotous punch-up they become fast friends and decide to team up. Starting with race-fixing and fights they move on to doing jobs for Rinaldi (Michel Bouquet), an aspiring mayoral candidate and associate of the top two mob bosses in town. Eventually Capella and Roch go into business for themselves whereupon their easygoing approach to crime turns deadly serious.

For European audiences the pairing of superstars Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo, arguably the two most iconic men in French cinema, was a cinematic event. It ensured Borsalino became one of highest-grossing French films of all time. At the time France was in the midst of a retro-Thirties craze in fashion and music sparked by the Hollywood hit Bonnie & Clyde (1967) but Borsalino moved beyond imitation to achieve its own distinctively Gallic identity. The film also undoubtedly drew some inspiration from the original 'bromance' between Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Yet one would argue its unique mixture of Thirties nostalgia, boisterous action, wry humour and melancholy romantic undertones went on to influence not just Redford and Newman's reunion with The Sting (1973) but also several major Hollywood gangster epics that followed: e.g. The Godfather (1972), Once Upon a Time in America (1984) and The Untouchables (1987).

Produced by Delon himself, who wisely avoided an ego-trip and gave Belmondo equal chance to shine, Borsalino was adapted from Eugene Saccomano's true-crime account 'Bandits at Marseilles' with script input from the great Jean-Claude Carriere. Armed with a lavish budget director Jacques Deray, who through ensuing years re-teamed with both stars several more times to great success, recreates Thirties Marseilles on a truly opulent scale. The first half of the film more or less serves as a playground for overgrown kids Belmondo and Delon to carouse and womanize, smack each other then beat the hell out of their enemies and pose in impeccably tailored suits. Deray relies on the mega-wattage charisma of his stars to compensate for his own slippery grasp of the wayward first act. Even so things flow beautifully from one lively episode to another. A nightmarish shootout in a fiery meat locker is especially well staged. Once Cappella takes a shine to beautiful Ginette (achingly lovely Nicole Calfan), enraging her powerful mobster sugar-daddy Poli (André Bollet) and Roch tries to seize control of the meat markets away from arch rival Morello (Arnoldo Foà) things grow far darker, more serious and compelling. The story moves away from pastiching The Public Enemy (1931) and Scarface (1932) and begins to evoke F. Scott Fitzgerald. Roch and Cappella become rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams. Big dreamer Roch ends up with everything he always wanted but winds up increasingly paranoid and lonely. As Cappella tells him: "Luck doesn't exist, partner."

If Borsalino stands guilty of relegating women to glamorous victims, whores with hearts of gold or maternal figures, it is a problem that afflicts the gangster genre as a whole. To its credit the film draws its engaging if amoral protagonists not as invincible super-criminals but flawed and fallible. They see loved ones pay the price for their recklessness and are forced to grow increasingly ruthless to survive. When Morello mentions in passing he would retaliate against any threat to his best friend Rinaldi, just as Roch would for Cappella and vice-versa, we realize all the players are trapped in a cyclical game of violence and revenge. Belmondo plays the charming rogue to perfection while Delon continues to hone the unique combination of cool, calculating malevolence and sensitive angst that served him throughout the rest of his career. Claude Bolling's ragtime score is another of the film's memorable assets. The shock climax would seem to leave no room for a sequel but Delon and Deray delivered one anyway with Borsalino & Co. (1974). Remarkably it took almost thirty years before Delon reteamed with Belmondo again in Une chance sur deux (1998).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2975 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: