Le Cercle Rouge

“Le Cercle Rouge” or The Red Circle is a French crime movie which I found to be rather fascinating. It was directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.

Two criminals and an ex-police man who is a sharpshooter come together to plan and carry out a major heist at a jewellery store in Paris. That is a simple one line story of this movie. I liked the movie for its absence of dialogues in many situations, including the long heist scene when almost no word is spoken. Amazing !

The characters of the three criminals (the ex-police man becomes a new criminal) and the police inspector are fabulously acted out by the cast of French actors in this movie. Of course, I got a site which had English sub-titles, and got vexed when the site did not proceed towards full movie completion. I had to view the French version at another site, and then tried hard to get the sub-titles back again. Eventually, I got the same leading to a better understanding of the final dialogues.

This is an excellent crime movie, though there are several mis-steps by the first two criminals when they plan the heist and then later when they try to download the jewellery with secret buyers. Of course, this is just a movie and one thinks why did these guys not allowed to escape by the Director at the end ? They committed some mistakes which leads to the police eventually shooting and killing all of them. You feel sad about that end. I would have liked them to escape after such meticulous planning and execution of the heist, I am sure most viewers would have preferred that given that the police inspector was ultimately found to be a corrupt guy himself. His superior says “All men are guilty” with a marked nonchalance which leaves the inspector thinking.

The one thing which left a deep impression about this movie is the complete “cool” behaviour of all characters (well, may be not the police inspector). The criminals come through as cool professionals doing their “criminal” job. They go about their tasks in almost a dispassionate way, executing to a plan. These guys would have made excellent corporate managers ! Kudos to Alain Delon, Gian Maria Volonte, Yves Montand (the ex-police man) and Andre Bourvil (who is the police inspector) for their rather fantastic acting.

An enchanting movie from a talented director of yester years !


Vijay Srinivasan

8th November 2015


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