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Le deuxième souffle (2007)

Gu, a famous gangster, has just escaped from jail. All french police is after him. Before leaving the country with Manouche, the woman he loves, Gu needs a final job to get some money. The job works, but a police's scheming makes Gu appear as a traitor to his own accomplices. Gu will do whatever it takes to clean his honor...

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(adaptation), (dialogue) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jacques Bonnaffé ...
...
Jean-Paul Bonnaire ...
Théo, le passeur
Francis Renaud ...
Letourneur
Stéphane Brel ...
Poupon
Philippe Chaine ...
Godefroy
Gérald Laroche ...
Chef
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Storyline

Gu, a famous gangster, has just escaped from jail. All french police is after him. Before leaving the country with Manouche, the woman he loves, Gu needs a final job to get some money. The job works, but a police's scheming makes Gu appear as a traitor to his own accomplices. Gu will do whatever it takes to clean his honor... Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

24 October 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Decydujacy skok  »

Box Office

Budget:

€24,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Monica Bellucci decided to bleach her hair blonde for her role to give her role more of a "gangster" feel to it. See more »

Goofs

When Gu is traveling by bus from Paris to Marseille, a modern day car can be seen through the window. See more »

Connections

Version of Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Out of wind
28 October 2007 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

There's already a heavy legacy of polar noir, gangster films, in France. What's really left after Jean Gabin, Belmondo, Alain Delon, Jean-Pierre Melville? Of course the addictive detective novelist Georges Simenon wrote dozens and dozens of compelling novels. Bela Tarr just adapted one of the more obscure ones. And why not have a stab at it?

This movie shows you why not. The only thing justifying a director as known as Alain Corneau (Tous les matins du monde, with Depardieu and son; Fear and Trembling, with Sylvie Testud) being attached to it is that he got name actors, headed by Daniel Auteuil (in a little mustache that makes him look bloated) and Monica Bellucci (who'd look better here if she were blowsier and tackier and more soulful, as Simone Signoret was). This is the degeneration of a genre and a tradition that reached perfection in the Fifties and Sixties in France. Arguably French crime movies have succeeded better of late by following new American models, in slum-revolt stuff like Jean-François Richet's 1997 Ma 6-T va crack-er ("My City Is Going To Crack") or updated caper knockoffs like Florent Emilio Siri's 2002 Nid de guêpes (Nest of Vipers). Todd McCarthy's Variety review of Corneau's new film says, "it will be a hard sell Stateside, where its style and substance will appear both out of step and out of date." Correct. Seen in Paris with a sparse middle-aged audience, it looked like a strictly local artifact.

I don't believe I've seen the 1966 Jean-Pierre Melville version of this Jose Giovanni novel about an escaped lifer who stages that one last big job to raise the money to leave the country. But after seeing the bargain basement Brian De Palma nightclub shootout in ugly, garish color that opens Corneau's new film, I kept thinking of the wonderful bank robbery that begins Melville's 1972 Un flic/A Cop. This garish look may be meant to echo recent US graphic novel celluloid; if so that's just another miscalculation. Where Melville was sparse understatement, Corneau's sequence is clumsy excess. It's preceded by an escape sequence featuring Auteuil as main character Gu (Gustave Minda) that is so brief it fails to establish context. The nightclub scene that blasts the opening away is so noisy it also overwhelms most of the action that follows.

Gu in Melville's version was played by Lino Ventura. He himself seemed always stolid and second rate, but in a brave, determined sort of way that was noir personified; and he shines in recent memory through the recent revival of Melville's resistance study, Army of Shadows. Auteuil has none of that inner-ness; he's pure bluster. Auteuil's perpetually uncomfortable look works well enough in a comedy like The Valet and My Best Friend. Michael Haneke used it brilliantly and on a far higher level in his 2005 Caché. The look seems out of place in a gangster condemned to life who initiates one last big job--a desperate man of desperate courage. In Melville's version, Paul Meurisse plays Gu's adversary, the foxy Commissaire Blot. We also remember the wonderfully mournful-countenanced Meurice from Army of Shadows. Corneau uses Michel Blanc, a little bullish man with an annoying cockiness. Where is suave disdain when we need it?

The big robbery of some trucks that involves killing people (and more garish reds) is fairly effective, but is the kind of sequence that, as McCarthy noted, has been done many times before by a Hollywood that has moved on to other things. Corneau's staging has none of the kinetic energy of the warehouse robbery in Siri's Nest of Vipers (and even that was just able mimicry of recent American movies).

This is a Sixties story that keeps introducing Forties and Fifties cars. The sense of period is as shaky as the awareness of what's up-to-date.

Some of the French critics seem to have been impressed by the flashy colors and flamboyant acting of Corneau's remake. They are impressed by a roster of other actors with good recent track records that includes Jacques Dutronc, Eric Cantona, Philippe Nahon, Gilbert Melki, Jean-Paul Bonnaire--lots of reliable pros here. But that doesn't make this a good movie, or make up for the lack of chemistry between Auteuil and Bellucci. At two hours and thirty-five minutes, this is an albatross as well as a travesty.


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