Add the word "French" to the title of director Cedric Jimenez's period policier "The Connection," and you get this film's intended spiritual antecedent: William Friedkin's classic of vulgar New York cops against sophisticated European heroin traffickers.
In rolling out a fictionalized version of the Marseille side of that infamous smuggling operation and the 1970s battle between dogged magistrate Pierre Michel (
On the plus side, the coastal Marseille locations, where Jimenez is from, are a potent visual component for a movie built on face-offs, surveillance and action. And despite the pedestrian screenplay (by Jimenez and Audrey Diwan), Dujardin and Lellouche are magnetic performers who slip easily into their antagonistic roles. Dujardin's high-wattage matinee-idol smile, in fact, is a distraction easy to accept because his charisma wouldn't be out of place in any age.
MPAA rating: R for strong violence, drug content, language.
Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.