The Connection (French: La French) is a 2014 French-Belgian action crime thriller film directed by Cédric Jimenez and produced by Alain Goldman. The film was inspired by the events of the French Connection in the 1970s, starring Jean Dujardin as police magistrate Pierre Michel and Gilles Lellouche as “Tany” Zampa, a drug gang ringleader. An energetic young magistrate Pierre Michel is given a tough job on the ins and outs of an out-of-control drug trade. Pierre’s wildly ambitious mission is to take on the French Connection, a highly organized operation that controls the city’s underground heroin act and is controlled by the notorious —and reputedly untouchable— Gaetan Zampa. Michele is portrayed as a driven, obsessed man – it is implied that he had some gambling problems in the past – who seems to be actually trying to catch the ‘bad guys’. During the entirety of the film his determination is being shown as close to obsession as possible without too much cliché. Dujardin and Lellouche’s characters are more alike than they are different, with both being devoted family men and ultra-faithful husbands, and both having a close group of associates they treat like family.
Dujardin plays a full-on good guy, with his magistrate, Pierre Michel, being shown as one of the most incorruptible guys in France. It’s nice to see Dujardin play such virtuous part, which he does well. Lellouche’s Zampa is not your typical villain, in that he’s shown to have a compassionate streak, and is so anti-drug in his own life that when he discovers an associate of his is a drug-addict, he forces him to do a massive trail to try and teach him a potentially deadly lesson. Cédric Jimenez grew up himself in Marseille in the 1970s and says that the story of the Judge has run through his veins his whole life. He chose to shoot the whole film with a hand held camera, which gives the film it’s intimate and raw feeling. The opening scene showed a landscape filled with historical buildings, palm trees, straight roads and the sea that reflected blue from the sky. The vibrating and aggressive sound from the motorbike gave the picture a dramatic sound. To carry on, the visualisation had some glimpse shots, fast forwarding and an expression in chiaroscuro. The film looked like a production from the 1970s. Laurent Tangy as the cinematographer expressed the contrast between light and shade. There is some action here and there, but it’s neither flashy, nor heroic.