The Day Of The Jackal (1973)

dir. Fred Zinnemann. Transfixing, intricate film about an assassin called The Jackal (Edward Fox), as he travels to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle. Based on the excellent Frederick Forsyth novel. Michael Lonsdale (Bond villain Drax in MOONRAKER (1979)) plays a French policeman tasked with stopping him. Incredibly detailed, placing you inside the world of both the international assassin, and the French police taskforce as they track down The Jackal. Edward Fox is genuinely scary, partly because the film feels so realistic, the film shows you every step of his diabolical plan. It reminds me of HEAT (1995), in that it shows you both sides of a criminal investigation, and is obsessed with minute details. Both films can feel like a manual on committing, or preventing crime. The locations in France, Italy and the U.K. are incredible. Almost no music, which only makes the film more suspenseful. All the dialogue is spoken in English, despite most of the characters being French, and in France, this makes the film feel slightly dated, but not any less watchable. Avoid the Bruce Willis remake, THE JACKAL (1997), pure trash which I won’t be revisiting. 

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.

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