Les Miserables, 70s style
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 02/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Two Men in Town/Deux Hommes dans la Ville is a surprisingly good drama from Jose Giovanni, whose own prison experiences were the basis of Jacques Becker's Le Trou. The same sense of working from first-hand knowledge is omnipresent in this drama about Alain Delon's paroled convict trying to start a new life with the help of prison educator Jean Gabin and almost making a go of it until Michel Bouquet's local flic goes all Inspector Javert on him and does everything in his power to engineer his return to crime. Despite some hairspray style slo-mo montages and some awkward construction in the middle, the film manages to make it's potentially cliched story both involving and convincing, not least because of Giovanni's great sense of place and motion, with his fluid camerawork particularly striking.
Gabin is more engaged by the material than usual at this stage in his career and Delon is surprisingly good, especially in his all too convincing final scene, while a young Gerard Depardieu turns up in a couple of scenes offering three generations of iconic Gallic cinematic losers in one film. The crusading tone of the last third is a tad heavy, but the ending - both ritually stylised and yet realistically performed - makes its point far better than the courtroom speeches.
The letterboxed transfer is more than acceptable but less than outstanding, while the extras consist of brief stills gallery, trailer and trailers for 9 other Delon titles - The Sicilian Clan, Borsalino and Co, Flic Story, Mort d'un Pourri, Trois Hommes a Abbatre, Pour la Peau d'un Flic, Le Battant, Parole de Flic and Ne Reveilles pas un Flic Qui Dort."
Easy-going film builds to a powerful conclusion
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 04/16/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This one will certainly separate the liberals from the conservatives in your movie-viewing group. Was the constant hounding by a police inspector of a recent parolee (Alain Delon) responsible for the parolee finally getting himself in trouble again, or is committing a crime simply committing a crime, regardless of whether you were goaded into it by an overzealous law-enforcement official?
Ultimately pretty downbeat, "Two Men in Town" is nevertheless pretty easy-going and engaging over most of its modest length, due to some fine supporting performances and a pleasant view of French family life in the 70's. I imagine, however, that the issue of French prison reform was a hot issue in the 70's, as one has to listen to a few speeches on the topic during the course of the film. What you're likely to remember most, though, are the film's closing images, which are visceral and searing no matter where your sympathies ultimately lie.
The DVD offers a clean, widescreen print of the film and a nice selection of trailers from Alain Delon's film career."
Solid, but not a gangster film
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | 06/22/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Two Men in Town" is a solid film (3.5 stars) about an ex-convict who struggles to find peace after his release from prison. Alain Delon is cool as always, and Jean Gabin gives a nice performance. Surprisingly for me given the description of the film, however, it is not a gangster film. There are almost no action scenes and the pace is rather slow. It is an interesting meditation on the rights of criminals and the death penalty, although this is a rather worn out topic."