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Rififi

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Perlo Vita, Jean Servais, Robert Manuel, and Carl Mohner in Rififi
Everett Collection

Rififi

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
118 minutes
performer:
Carl Mohner, Jean Servais
director:
Jules Dassin
distributor:
Rialto Pictures
genre:
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

For all its own aesthetic descendants (2011’s crime ballad Drive borrows heftily), Thief takes inspiration from the godfather of heist movies, Jules Dassin’s Rififi (1955, 1 hr., 58 mins., Not Rated). Both films have been given a new Blu-ray release by Criterion, and while their stories are separated by the Atlantic Ocean and more than 25 years, the two tap deeply into the basic satisfactions of seeing a job well done, and then seeing it come well undone. The key to a heist scene is showing your work: The robbery in Rififi, which took up only 10 pages in its source novel, is expanded to nearly a quarter of the film’s running time; no words are spoken, not a single action is left unseen. Mann’s film similarly revels in the particulars. Not a second is lost as Caan’s character pulls off his One Last Score?. Criterion’s EXTRAS are uncharacteristically sparse for both titles, but these films are diamonds no matter what box they come in. They make for a good double feature (RiThiefi?) — so good, you might reach for a smoke afterward. A-

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