Thursday, February 17, 2005

Unsolicited DVD Review

I Watched Any Number Can Win last night and I really enjoyed it. It's a French heist film from the early sixties and the basic plot is something we've all seen a hundred times: a wise and somewhat aged thief (Jean Gabin) gets out of prison and decides to pull off one last job. He gets a young rebel (Alain Delon) to partner up with him they knock over a casino. This inevitably involves a lot of crawling around in air ducts and shimming down air shafts, and there are a number of close calls, a gun is drawn here and there, and so on and so forth.

Still, I liked it. It was a good story with strong performances (who knew a guy as old and pudgy as Jean Gabin could look so cool?) and I happen to like heist films.

It's pretty clear that Henri Verneuil, who directed the movie, had seen Stanley Kubrick's The Killing. Here's a spoiler (at least if you've seen The Killing), Any Number Can Win has the exact same ending as Kubrick's film except it involves water rather than wind.

Now that I'm on the subject, let me just say I love The Killing. Even though it's eight or ten years older than Any Number Can Win, it has aged less. It's crosses and double crosses, gritty violence and high body count make it seem very modern.

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