Say the words “French Connection” and plenty of images come to mind: Gene Hackman in a porkpie hat, the grit and grime of pre-Giuliani New York City, and some of the most nerve-jangling, eardrum-rattling car chases ever committed to celluloid. And yet “The Connection,” while clearly indebted to the slick, entertaining amorality of William Friedkin’s classic cop thriller, is neither a remake nor a re-interpretation. It is instead a much different story, albeit one that draws inspiration from the same true events that were the basis for the 1971 film that saw Hackman chase down crooks on foot in an ill-fitting Santa suit. A new French trailer has arrived, promising down-and-dirty thrills, plenty of action, and the dependably chiseled mug of the man once dubbed “France’s George Clooney,” Mr. Jean Dujardin.
On the basis of this trailer, “The Connection” promises to be a leaner, cleaner film then Friedkin’s sprawling, rough-and-tumble opus of bad cops, wild junkies, and international drug barons. There’s a lot to like in this trailer, which evokes Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Pusher” trilogy, as well as the hopped-up, immediate action cinema of Daniel Espinosa (“Easy Money,” “Safe House”). Like any good crime picture, this one promises to be chock-full of drugs, betrayal, gunfights, melodrama, and assuredly, more drugs. The film has already had its premiere at TIFF, where it received mostly positive word-of-mouth: The Hollywood Reporter called it a “a procedural epic whose complicated narrative is propelled by visceral action sequences and an unusually thrilling soundtrack.” Any worries about superficial similarities to Friedkin’s picture can also be squashed. “The Connection” takes place four years after the original film was released in theaters and concerns itself with an entirely different cast of characters and conflicts, while drawing from the same wellspring of real-life inspiration.
Shot on 35mm and directed by Cedric Jimenez, “The Connection” has been picked up by Drafthouse Films, and has a domestic release date slated for January 2015. Check out the trailer below. [Vlicious!]