Ronin (1998)

dir. John Frankenheimer. Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) is a mysterious Irish agent who brings together a group of hired guns, including Sam (Robert De Niro) and Vincent (Jean Reno) to steal a special suitcase for unknown reasons. Justifiably famous for the intense car chases, and they are still very intense. These virtuosic car chases are mostly shown without music, with the camera switching perspectives between the POV of the car, and from the pedestrian viewpoint, giving an incredible sense of speed and danger. The plot I found very muddled this time watching. The film tries to make Sam a cold blooded professional like Alain Delon in LE SAMOURAÏ (1967), as the Japanese reference in the title suggests, but it really just creates a less interesting version of De Niro’s character three years earlier in HEAT. The Irish political plot is annoyingly incomplete, and the Irish accents are truly bad. It’s still fun to watch Robert De Niro walk around Paris in a turtleneck drinking wine, and speaking French.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

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

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