Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Day of the Jackal

When French President Charles De Gaulle decides to grant Algeria their independence, many of his military officers feel betrayed following their long struggle there, and a small secret sect decides to have him assassinated. After a botched attempt, and now with the president on high alert, the group decides to recruit a highly skilled outsider to take care of the hit. With the Jackal, as he likes to be called, making his meticulous plans and closing in, the French government, following an insider tip, turns to an equally exacting police inspector to try to stop him before its too late. Fred Zinnemann's "The Day of the Jackal" is a precise and engrossing thriller adapted for the screen from the bestselling Frederick Forsyth novel. Zinnemann closely follows the moves of the Jackal alongside that of the inspector, both with great detail, and we are given the sense that we are viewing what both these processes may actually be like. The actors playing these roles, Edward Fox as the assassin and Michael Lonsdale as the detective, also bring a great deal of gravitas to these roles. "The Day of the Jackal" in not only a wonderfully involving film, but also one that pulls that rare trick, where we are aware of the outcome of the film, but are still biting our nails all the way until the credits roll.