Sunday, June 24, 2012

COUP DE TORCHON (1981) -
Bertrand Tavernier


Another Frenchman takes a Thompson tale abroad. This time, it's Jim Thompson's novel Pop. 1280 relocated from its '50s rural Texas setting to pre-World War II West Africa. It's an interesting flip of the script setting-wise, but something gets lost in the translation. Tavernier often opts for comedy over intrigue, takes his sweet time with the plot. There are a few lurid noir details left in (see above pic), but the overall vibe is casual French dining rather than overheated American pulp. Noiret is great as the sadsack, increasingly immoral police constable, and a young Isabelle Huppert is appropriately feisty with a wash of freckles that defy the blazing African sun. It took me two separate viewings to finish this Coup, but I finally cleaned everything on my Criterion Collection plate.

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