'Two Men in Town' ** 092305

The Work = **
So now here is a movie that the distributors seem to desperately want to be an action filled caper flick. The movie 'Two Men in Town' is not. It is in fact, a French drama starring Alain Delon and Jean Gabin as two friends. Delon plays Gino, a con who gets out of prison and tries to go straight. Gabin is a social worker that befriends him and helps him stay out of a life of crime. I believe the movie is sort of a commentary on the French criminal justice system of the period.

The film’s director Jose Giovanni served time on death row himself and I suspect that his experience helped to give the film the feeling of authenticity that it has when it deals with the life of an ex-con. I recently read Edward Bunker’s novel 'No Beast So Fierce' and in one respect 'Two Men in Town' reminded me of it. Both the film and the novel deal with ex cons and they have some serious pent up rage. At one point in the film Gino becomes so frustrated that he runs to a junk yards and starts smashing up car wrecks with a sledge hammer.

I liked the performances in this film, particularly Delon and Gabin. Gabin seems to look at events with a certain amount of sadness, as if he thinks the outcome will not be good. As strong as their performances are and as good as some scenes are the film as a whole just didn’t work for me. Gino ends up meeting his nemesis in the form of a policeman who is still bitter about Gino’s past life of crime. Their conflict comes way too late in the film for me and seems almost like a separate movie. In fact the first and second halves of the film are almost like two separate movies.

The anger and almost claustrophobic sense that I got about the French justice system is very potent but it is spread too thin. The movie never really built up any momentum for me. I can’t recommend 'Two Men in Town' even though parts of it worked very well. If you are a fan of Delon and/ or Gabin you may want to give it a try. I suspect if you get into this film you will find it an enjoyable enough, albeit melancholy, drama.

DVD = ***

The Look
The DVD has a 1.66:1 widescreen anamorphic transfer that looks well, not so hot. There is a lot of ghosting in this transfer and the picture does not seem too sharp. The overall image looks pretty dull except for a few scenes. This is not the worst transfer I have seen by far but certainly not a very good one either. This almost ruins the release. I’m glad it is in anamorphic widescreen but frankly if the image looks like poo what good is it?

The Sound
The DVD have a French mono soundtrack with optional English subtitles. The soundtrack is ok I suppose (it does better than the image but that is not saying much.)

The Bonus
There is a trailer for 'Two Men in Town' and Ten trailers for other Alain Delon films. Finally there is a very short still gallery. It would have been nice to have more in the way of extras (especially considering the director’s criminal background.) I’m glad for what is here but Kino really dropped the ball with the bonus features (like they did with the image.)

All Together = **
So I can’t recommend this one. The disc barely sneaks by with a recommendation and truthfully it probably shouldn’t get one due to the transfer. I like Gabin and Delon in particular but the cast as a whole is solid. This film will have its fans and I really do like parts of it but not enough to recommend it.


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