Sunday, November 13, 2005

THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973) -
Fred Zinneman

Simply put, the most compelling countdown to an attempted assassination that I’ve ever seen. Even though we know beforehand De Gaulle was to die by aneurysm instead of sniper shot, every minute of this nearly two and a half-hour blow by blow procedural is completely and one hundred percent gripping.
 
Edward Fox as The Jackal is phenomenal. Michael Lonsdale as the haggard inspector Lebel is perfect. And director Zinnemann doesn’t waste a single frame. As for whatever studio “genius” decided there needed to be a remake of this movie (Richard Gere and Bruce Willis in ‘97s The Jackal)…that’s who should be targeted for assassination.

The Day of the Jackal is pure cinema. But don’t take it from me. Rent this sucker…now!

1 comment:

Jordan Hoffman said...

Yes!

This is the movie David Mamet keeps trying to make, but winds up with Spartan instead.

My review:
The Day of the Jackal (1973), Fred Zinnemann, A-
The more I think about this movie, the more amazed I am by it. It is 100% engaging -- and yet nothing happens. It's two hours and ten minutes of buildup, followed by thirty seconds of action. The movie is just plot plot plot. Keep it moving. No time for character depth, yet by hiring good actors and having clever dialogue the movie hints that it COULD have character depth if it wanted to, it just chooses to stick with the procedure. This is also fascinating as a house of mirrors period piece -- to see how 1973 portrays 1962. This would make a great double bill with "Black Sunday." (They are basically the same film, but since this is about France it feels a little classier.) What's also interesting is that you aren't watching "The Jackal" plan his crime -- we're just watching him move around, kinda discovering things. He isn't all that great of a planner -- he just has the will. This movie is the polar opposite of "In The Line of Fire." Same subject matter, but that's all about characters being clever and "human." Here, they are just making connecting trains. Lastly, The Jackal would never have been caught if the OAS had a heavy donor to put some cash in the kitty. It was robbing the banks to pay Jackal's price that tipped the cops off.