The Artist star Jean Dujardin did have a career before his Oscar-winning turn as a silent film star fallen upon hard times, and his post-Oscar triumphs have been nothing to sneeze at. He appeared briefly but memorably in Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, and then again in The Monuments Men. He’s also been hard at work in his native France, and will next be seen in Cedric Jimenez’s true-story crime thriller The Connection, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Connection has Dujardin in the role of Pierre Michel, a young magistrate recently transferred to Marseilles. Once there he runs a crash course in the ins and outs of the drug trade, now out of control in the city. His ambitious goal is to taken on the French Connection, the underground operation that oversees the city’s heroine trade. The Connection is run by Gaetan Zampa (Gilles Lelouche) and Michel is out to get him, no matter who he has to hurt to do it.
If some of that plot seems familiar to you, there’s a reason for it: The Connection is partially a retelling of William Friedkin’s The French Connection from 1971, which featured Gene Hackman in the role of an undercover cop out to get the head of a heroin syndicate. The Connection is also a true story: Michel was a real magistrate and eventual judge in Marseilles who attempted to dismantle the drug trade in that city. The press release for the film claims that it’s a “bold European twist” on The French Connection, which sounds good to me.
The trailer is in French with no subtitles, but it certainly looks a change of pace for Dujardin and an interesting film in its own right. It does not look too derivative of Friedkin’s film either, which is certainly a plus.
The Connection will open in France on December 3. You can check out the trailer below.