Cédric Jimenez’s The Connection is an absorbing crime drama loaded with style. The cat-and-mouse dynamic offers increasing tension in this true story tale.
Pierre Michel is a rising French magistrate who is transferred to work in the organised crime unit in Marseilles in the 1970s. Pierre dedicates his time battling to bring down the notorious “French connection” drug ring, much to the displeasure of kingpin Tany Zampa…
Based on real events, The Connection focuses on the same organised crime outfit as William Friedkin’s The French Connection. Director and co-writer Cédric Jimenez focuses on a later period, and keeps the action rooted in Marseilles.
At the heart of The Connection is the chase of a criminal by a law officer, despite the wider implications of the drug ring in the film. The cat and mouse set up works well. With two French heavyweights in the protagonist roles, The Connection echoes Heat. The narrative is carefully crafted to retain the viewer’s interest. Audiences will have a fair idea of how the film will pan out, but the journey is sufficiently absorbing. The Connection‘s story is well crafted; exposition is dropped in early on to rear its head in a way which is unexpected.
Although the focus is on the story, The Connection‘s action sequences are executed well. There are some moments of real tension; Jimenez excels in building these scenes. The film features some good cinematography, particularly in the club scenes and across expansive landscapes. Music is used effectively to convey mood and to situate the changing era.
Leads Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche both offer strong performances. Dujardin and Lellouche are believable in their roles, although the former has a meatier character. Casting in the supporting roles is also good.
The Connection offers both style and substance. It may not be remembered as a classic of the crime genre, but Jimenez’s film is certainly a worthwhile watch.