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April 25, 2005

'Ronin'

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Great 1998 film directed by John Frankenheimer starring Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone and Stellan Skarsgård.

Set in Paris, it's about a band of mercenaries who are recruited to lift a mysterious steel case from its heavily guarded protectors.

What's in the case?

As De Niro says toward the end of the movie, when Jean Reno asks him that very question after two hours of suspense, great car chases through Paris and general mayhem, "I don't remember."

Doesn't matter: as Shakespeare wrote in another context, the story's the thing.

Paris never looked more enchanting or beautiful; Frankenheimer is as good as he ever was at directing action and thriller scenes, which is plenty good indeed.

Each member of the group hired to do the job is used to working alone, trusting no one, yet in this mission that's not possible: they have to work together, relying on each other.

That doesn't last long, though, as the film unwinds and we find that each has a different constituency he or she is playing to.

As Kaspar Gutman said to Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon": "I like a man who can go in either direction or none at all. You can't trust a man who's sure of himself. He's hard and brittle and runs the risk of falling apart on you."

I liked the movie and somehow it got me ready to finish "A World Without Time," the subject of the next post, so that makes me even more favorably inclined toward it.

Hey, I'm not saying it'll put your brain into overdrive too: future results may not equal past performance, as they always say in small print — the real teeny-tiny agate type at the bottom — in the brokerage ads telling you how to invest your money.

April 25, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink


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