Gene Hackman in The French Connection (1971)

No Connection

While in the bar after another day's work busting bad guys 'Popeye' Doyle (Gene Hackman) has a hunch when he sees Sal Boca (Tony Lo Bianco) in some unusual company and with his partner Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) start trailing Boca. Despite the opposition of those back at the precinct who know that Popeye is a short tempered alcoholic's whose hunches can cause trouble it appears Popeye is on to something big involving drugs and the smooth operator Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey).

I always like to revisit movies deemed classics which when I have watched left me wondering what all the fuss is about and as such I have watched "The French Connection" three times now and sadly not once has this movie entertained. Now it is 45 years since "The French Connection" was made and of course much has changed when it comes to cinematic tastes but despite enjoying older movies more than modern ones this reported classic still leaves me scratching my head as to why so many people proclaim it great.

So the best thing to do is describe how "The French Connection" came across to me and that is disjointed with a narrative which rarely flows and certainly doesn't achieve that "how it happened" feel which I am told this movie is meant to achieve. On top of that the whole grittiness of the uncomposed camera angles and blurred image from the film struggling with low life fails to add atmosphere to me. But the worst thing is that the entire storyline of Popeye doggedly going after a bad guy on a hunch is not in the least bit entertaining.

The only genuinely plus point for me when it comes to "The French Connection" is the acting and both Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider world well together to deliver entertaining performances. In fact for me it is Scheider who delivers the better performance considering what this movie is suppose to be.

What this all boils down to is that usually I try to give older classics which don't entertain me the benefit of the doubt but when it comes to "The French Connection" I struggle to see what is so great about it beyond the acting.