Movie review: ‘The Connection’ is a throwback crime thriller

A rousing throwback to good old-fashioned ’70s crime thrillers, the French foreign film ‘The Connection” gives us another view of the takedown of the largest drug-smuggling operation in the world. This time it’s 1975 and set in Marseille.

Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) is charismatic as Pierre Michel, a respected police magistrate promoted to organized crime from juvenile, a cool cat who is devoted to his job and family.

The heroin traffickers are a tough foe, and drug lord Tany Zampa (Gilles Lellouche) is well-protected. But Michel is fierce, and isn’t intimidated by the powerful kingpin of the Marseilles Mob. He is, however, worried about his family. Fascinating to watch as he digs in, Dujardin shows his range — and sports killer ’70s sideburns.

Director Cedric Jiminez directs the frenetic action with style and an eye on the prize. While it’s no match for the 1971 Oscar-winning nitro-fueled “The French Connection,” it is a satisfying companion piece.

The beauty of coastal southern France is an interesting juxtaposition to all the malevolence.

The movie may not break new ground, but delivers a solid police caper with strong performers fleshing out the usual archetypes.

3 stars out of 4

Director: Cedric Jiminez

Starring: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche, Celine Sallette

Rated: R for strong violence, drug content and language.

Length: 2: 15

In French with English subtitles; showing at the Tivoli in St. Louis.