Movies reviewed this week: The Day of the Jackal and The Battle of Algiers.
12/31/2021: The Day of the Jackal (1973): ****1/2
Absolute clockwork precision. It’s two procedurals in one: the assassin and the detective working towards their own ends until the deeply tense conclusion. The pacing alone is a masterpiece, never hurried.
1/1/2022: The Battle of Algiers (1966): *****
Criterion Challenge 2022
Prompt: Watch a film from the year you were born
I’d always wanted to watch this because I don’t know a lot about this period of history, so it was an easy add to my challenge list. Since I’d just watched The Day of the Jackal, which is fictionally rooted in the aftermath of the Algerian War, I shunted this to the top of my queue. (Should have used Umbrellas of Cherbourg for my Deneuve film, huh? I’ll catch up on it soon anyhow.)
Great way to start off the year. Grim and uncompromising, despite clear sympathies for the Algerians. Still, Pontecorvo doesn’t shy away from the damage and deaths caused by the FLN.
As with so many of the classics I’ve been catching up on during the pandemic, it was gratifying to say “ah, so that’s where that came from.” Soderbergh’s Che, am I right?