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Rififi Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Review

Rififi Blu-ray

While not perfect, “Rififi” offers up moments of cinematic brilliance.

After spending years in prison for theft, the aging Tony is brought back into the criminal world when his pal Joe proposes a jewelry heist. While hesitant at first, he decides to go in on the job with Joe, Mario (an Italian gangster), and a safecracker named César. After some preparation, the 4 thieves manage to successfully rob a safe full of valuable jewels. Just as things seem to be going their way, however, Tony, Joe, Mario, and César run into big trouble when a shady night club owner named Pierre gets wind of their robbery. Now, Pierre is set on getting the loot for himself by any means necessary.

When it comes to the heist film genre (or the film noir genre for that matter), “Rififi” is undoubtedly one of the most influential films. Whether you’re watching a film like “The Town” or the 2001 version of “Ocean’s 11,” it’s easy to see parallels. While the film may be sluggish in spots and lacking in fully developed/likable characters, “Rififi” is fondly remembered for a number of exceptional scenes. First and foremost, the actual heist scene is one of the best ever put to film. The expertly shot sequence is done entirely without music and dialogue with only the sound of tools being heard. The other two stand out scenes include the heist rehearsal sequence and “the rescue” in the conclusion (which I won’t spoil).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? Once again, Criterion does not disappoint. This crisp B&W transfer will

Presentation: Uncompressed French Mono and English dub Mono tracks. How do the tracks sound? The original English dub is so-so as some of the dub work is uneven at best. My advice is to go with the original language French track as that is the way the film was intended to be heard.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring an essay by film critic J. Hoberman.
* “Rififi” trailer and production stills.
* An interview with Jules Dassin from 2000. The director talks about his work, a FOX/MGM baseball game, being blacklisted, the book “Rififi” is based on, and the production of “Rififi.”

Overall Thoughts: While I would have liked to see more time spent on characters like Pierre, “Rififi” is still well worth watching if for no other reason than to see 3 great cinematic sequences.

January 23, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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