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Old 01-20-2011, 04:59 PM
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Default La Balance

One of my favourite films from the 1980s is the 1982 French crime thriller - La Balance.
Set in down town Belleville, it features an elite Police squad headed up by Richard Berry's Inspector who have to find a new informer (La Balance) after their primary informer is gunned down at the film's beginning. They choose Dede a former gangster and current pimp who is running his hooker lover Nicole. The police are determined to nail a vicious and very elusive gangster - Roger Massina and will stop at nothing to achieve this. The Police themselves are depicted as a bunch of thugs who use beatings and blackmail to get what they want. One of their officers is a former Algiers veteran with a hatred of Arabs. His treatment of an Arab drug dealer in all its racist brutality will pretty much make anyone wince. Likewise the treatment of Dede and Nicole can at times be difficult to watch too as they are bludgeoned and blackmailed along a very unpleasant road indeed. Superb performances though from Philippe Leotard and Nathalie Baye as Dede and Nicole, and it is hard not to feel for them in their grim predicament.

As mentioned before this is one very brutal film. The sadistic and vicious beating dished out to a young rookie cop by Massina's psychotic henchman being one such example, as is the Finale shoot out between the cops and the gangsters at the end.
This French language film is actually directed with great panache by an American- Bob Swaim. Yet for all of its brutality and downbeat themes, this remains a super crime movie and I would love to see it on
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