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36 Quai Des Orfevres

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Depardeu back at his best. April 6 2006
By steve b - Published on
In the past the French have produced some great crime films, Rififi, Grisbi, Cercle Rouge and Le Doubos spring to mind. However in recent years if they have keep up this tradition, it has not come to the attention of the English speaking film watching world.

36 Quai des Orfevres (the French equivalent of Scotland Yard or Number One Police Plaza) may not come up to the standard of the very best of the past but it is certainly a film worth watching.

The story revolves arround two cops, Vrinks (Daniel Auteuil) and Klein (Gerald Depardeu). Each heads a section of the French police and both are keen to catch of gang of brutal armed robbers. It is clear that at one time they were friends and maybe rivals for the love of Vrinks' wife. Now they are bitter rivals willing to undermine each other in order to get the glory of catching the robbers. The prize of becoming the new Chief of Detectives for Paris is also behind their rivalry.

Both are ruthless and willing to step outside the law in order to catch trhe bad guys. For Klein however ambition as become all. Vrinks whatever his faults is still for the most part motivated by the need to catch criminals, even if he is willing to do some violent and illegal things to catch them.

Auteuil and Depardeu are perhaps the biggest male stars in French cinema today. Auteuil gives his usual fine performance, for Depardeu this is his best performance in years and proof of what a powerful actor he is. Without speaking he can convey more with a look or a glance that most actors can with a ten minute speech.

I am not sure that the English subtitles give a accurate translation from trhe French. Can it be that the robbers go to all that planing and cause all that mayhem for a paltry 100,000 Euros?

All in all a film worth 4 stars, it would have got five had Depardeu been in it more.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Slick Crime Thriller from France, Starring Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu Feb. 13 2007
By Tsuyoshi - Published on
Paris' "36 Quai des Orfèvres" means London's Scotland Yard and this gritty French neo-noir is part inspired by real-life events that happened in January, 1985, according to the director Olivier Marchal, who formerly worked as police officer during the 1980s. The film stars Daniel Auteuil as Léo Vrinks, the leader of BRI, division of the Paris Police, and Gérard Depardieu as Denis Klein, head of BRB, another division of the same organization.

The premise looks familiar; Léo and Denis chase the same heavily-armed ruthless robbers who terrify the city, but Léo, who knows the underworld of Paris better than anyone, is always one step ahead of power-hungry Denis who desperately wants to arrest the criminals to get promoted. The intricate relations between the characters involve Camille (Valéria Golino), Léo's wife, to whom Denis seems still attached.

The tension slowly but steadily rises as the story unfolds, and when the gangsters are finally found, one of the characters does one unexpected thing, which triggers a chain reaction of the events beyond the ill-fated characters' control. Despite some unlikely behaviors of some characters and several coincidences, director Olivier Marchal (who briefly appears as one ex-convict Christo) did a fine job in keeping the tension and slick pace of the film throughout the story.

"36 Quai des Orfèvres" is a slick crime drama with tight storyline, supported by great performances from the actors, especially Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu. The film is not without predictable places, but still the intense conflict between the two leading characters is always fascinating to see.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding Action Film Feb. 23 2006
By M. Adams - Published on
Of the more than 300 21st-century films I have seen so far, this is the best. Vivid characters, believable situations, slam-bang action, brilliant acting by the entire cast, especially Daniel Auteuil. As with Jean-Pierre Melville's masterpieces, the film treats American noir themes existentially. Engrossing for every second. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Bullets And Betrayals In The Banlieues... Feb. 21 2009
By DLD - Published on
Best described as a gallic cross-pollination of Infernal Affairs (Wu jian dao), Heat (Two-Disc Special Edition), The Sweeney - The Complete First Series and The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics), like the best French cinema, its the dedication to grungy realism that I really admired about it. If it had been made in the US (and these days, depressingly, the UK), the cast would've been impossibly good looking and handsome. Not the case here - middle-aged French CID inspectors who are using the most unscrupulous means possible to screw each other out of a promotion actually `look like' middle-aged French CID inspectors who are using the most unscrupulous means possible to screw each other out of a promotion. Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu are suitably grungy and superb in it. I recommend you check it out before Hollywood defang, dumb down and rob it of all subtlety in order to acquiesce to the mentality of the multiplex bovines - just like they did with that Scorsese snorefest, The Departed (Widescreen Edition) (a.k.a. the truly awful remake of the superb Infernal Affairs (Wu jian dao)).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Unless you know the backstory, you may be disappointed May 10 2012
By Paul P. Belle Isle - Published on
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I wanted to like this movie - the reviews are pretty universally positive, it boasts an excellent director in Olivier Marchal and a great cast headlined by powerhouse actors Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil - but it fell short of all that promise.

If the viewer knows that the plot is based on a true story, it helps paper over what appears to be a choppy storyline, unclear motivation, and two-dimensional characters. Auteuil's Leo Vrinks, makes an enormous error that will have grave consequences for himself and his family, and that seems drastically out of alignment with the rest of what we know about him. Depardieu's Denis Klein, meanwhile, appears like some sort of evil charicature, a supposedly tough cop who demonstrates suddenly terrible judgement and poor impulse control. Valeria Gallino's Camille, a woman intelligent enough to be a doctor, no less, makes some decidedly odd choices. The list goes on, with the story hinging on a number of actions and events that seem to betray what we know about the players. One such might ring true, but even if everything in the true story is captured here accurately, the sheer volume in the movie strains the credibility of the plot.

While it is, as one would expect with the talent on hand, well-acted, the script is full of maudlin sentiment and melodrama. The cinematography is excellent, the action scenes are top-notch, but the series of ham-handed flashbacks in the final act bring down the quality of the storyline's execution. It is, in my opinion, frustratingly inconsistent.

To be sure, however, this is not a bad film, and it is worth a look for fans of anyone attached to its production. But viewers who are ignorant of the true events underpining the plot - like myself, going in - may find the film doesn't stand up well on its own. 36 Quai des Orfevres is not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, but it's not something I'll watch again, and definitely not the classic for which I had hoped.