36th Precinct (2011)
Starring: Gerard Depardieu, Daniel Auteuil
Studio: Gaumont/Palisades Tartan TVD4101 [6/14/11]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 1080p HD
Audio: French DD 5.1 & 2.0, English DD 2.0
Extras: Director interview, Making Of documentary “The Real 36,” Actors Costume Tests, The Choice of Weapons, Theatrical Trailers, Preview trailers
Length: 111 minutes
This is French cop thriller which balances the often heavy action with tense scenes between the characters in their home and office life. (It’s also available on Blu-ray, but we were sent the DVD by mistake.) Either this is an older film or Gerard Depardieu has lost some considerable weight since his appearance in Potiche, now in the theaters. 36th Precinct was nominated for eight César Awards (the French Academy Awards).
The tale is basically of a good cop and a bad cop, but both of them show both good and bad sides which are revealed in different ways. A gang of violent armed criminals have committed seven deadly robberies of bank trucks in the space of a year. Two lieutenants who are friends are told whichever one of them solves the robberies will be named the next Chief of Police in the precinct, and that begins an increasing competition between them, with each one coming more and more ruthless in various ways. The subject of police brutality and some of them acting like they are above the law is extremely timely in view of similar concerns in cities thruout the U.S. today. It moves towards being so extreme that it becomes difficult to discern the difference between the police and the criminals they are after.
A good transfer, even in the very dark scenes, and the surround occasionally makes good use of the gunshots and other sounds. The subtitles are larger and clearer than on most foreign films. A rather different view of Paris at night from the new Woody Allen film which I saw the night before. I think I prefer Allen’s Paris – especially with Dali, Bunuel, and Gertrude Stein in it.
— John Sunier