The Second Wind
- Miles Fielder
- 1 October 2009
This is the second adaptation of criminal-turned-crime-writer José Giovanni’s novel about an old lag breaking out of prison after a lengthy spell inside only to find the underworld of late 1950s Paris has changed beyond recognition. The first, made by Jean-Pierre Melville in 1966, was a typically paired-down thriller. In contrast, this version, directed by Alain Corneau (best known in the UK for his 1991 period drama Tous le matins du monde, but well versed in making policiers), is wholly operatic and owes a debt to Martin Scorsese.
While the candy colouring, cool soundtrack and bloody bursts of violence recall Goodfellas and Casino, there’s none of Marty’s signature gravitas, humour and raw authenticity to underpin the stylisation. What’s left is a nice-looking film that everybody involved – Corneau and his admittedly impressive cast lead by Daniel Auteil, Monica Bellucci and footballer-turned-actor Eric Cantona – seems to be taking far too seriously. No extras.