|Riton (René Dary) and Max (Jean Gabin)|
This is a gangster film and there is a heist, loot, and beautiful women, but director Jacques Becker doesn’t place the emphasis on any of those things. Instead, the film is focused on the relationship between two aging gangsters named Riton and Max. Max is played by the wonderful Jean Gabin and he he plays his part quietly, like-able, and experienced.
We get introduced to their world through a restaurant that serves Gabin and people in his social circle, but turns away the common folk off the street. It’s from here that we begin to learn about the twenty some year relationship that Riton and Max have had together as partners in crime. Max has access to many women. He pats them in the butt, he grabs a breast, he kisses them, and he sleeps with them, but when it comes to anything meaningful it has to do with Riton. When others try to extort gold bars they stole, Riton ends up getting kidnapped and it’s Max who has to come to his rescue.
Don’t expect Scarface or Bob The Gambler. Becker was known as the portrayer of everyday things whatever genre he was working within. For example when Max has Riton stay at one of his pads and carefully prepares what Riton will need for his stay. It not only shows the connection between the two, but also shows that even gangsters are people like everyone else.
However, these things don’t really make for an enjoyable film. It’s rather boring and I would say it’s just worth a look. Especially if you are a fan of Becker and Gabin.