Classe tous risques

In cinemas from 13 September 2013

Consider All Risks

“One of the best French gangster films”
– Bertrand Tavernier

Like Melville’s Le Deuxieme Souffle and Becker’s Le Trou, Claude Sautet’s directorial debut was based on a novel by death-row-inmate-turned-writer José Giovanni. Though seldom screened in recent years, it is undoubtedly their equal, a truly great crime movie deserving of wider renown.

It begins brilliantly as Abel Davos (the peerless Lino Ventura) – a Parisian gangster tired of exile in Italy now that the cops are closing in – and his pal Naldi commit a daring robbery before leaving Milan for France. Their getaway is perilous enough, but even when Abel reaches Nice, there’s still the matter of where to hide out and which of his former partners in crime to trust… particularly when they send a total stranger – Eric Stark (Belmondo, dazzling in a role very different from his hood in the contemporaneous Breathless) – to ferry him back to Paris. Scored by Georges Delerue and shot in moody monochrome by the great Ghislain Cloquet, the film is as sharp and suspenseful a study of loyalty, betrayal and professionalism as Melville’s thrillers; it’s enriched, however, not by stylised borrowings from American movies but by the subtle psychological realism that distinguished later Sautet masterworks like Un coeur en hiver and Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud. A real rediscovery.

Geoff Andrew


8-9 December
Eden Court, Inverness

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