Actors: Alain Delon, Gerard Depardieu, Jean Gabin
Director: Jose Gioveanni
Format: Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Cohen Media Group
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Run Time: 99 minutes
Labeling Two Men in Town as a crime film is somewhat deceptive, although there are crimes committed and the main character is a recently paroled criminal. The criminal activity we see if carried out by characters other than the protagonist, who spends a majority of the film attempting to earn redemption for his past. This is a drama about the difficulty of rehabilitation, though it does so with the narrative manipulation of a particularly villainous police officer. Created as a strong statement against the death penalty in
(which would be abolished eight years after this film’s release), Two Men in Town is a message movie which
manipulates the audience’s emotions a bit too much to stand up beyond its
political agenda. France
Alain Delon stars as Gino, a safecracker released from prison with the help of a prison reformer named Germaine (Jean Gabin), whose daughter he has become involved with. Obtaining a humble job soon after his release, Gino attempts to start a new life. These simple goals are soon interrupted, however, with the arrival of former criminal accomplices attempting to convince Gino to return to crime. Although he dismisses these offers rather quickly, the fact that Gino interacts with the criminal element brings suspicion on him by the inspector that put him in prison. The chief inspector (Michel Bouquet) begins following Gino around, harassing him until he finally reaches a boiling point.
Though there is criminal activity within the film, the reason I would classify this as a drama rather than crime is due to the fact that our protagonist stays far removed from most of the action. This makes Two Men in Town about the struggles of rehabilitation instead, especially when society expects you to slip up again. The simple premise eventually gets pushed to the point of melodrama in order to make the necessary statement about capital punishment, offering none of the escapist entertainment usually provided with crime films. Performances are strong and the message is clear, though there is little enjoyable within the material.
The Blu-ray release includes a new 4K restoration of the film, which looks great despite having no real flashy sequences to show off style. Also included on the high definition disc is a feature-length audio commentary by Charles Zigman, who was Jean Gabin’s biographer. There is also an original theatrical trailer and the re-release trailer included in extras.
Entertainment Value: 4.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6/10