The Morning After: Feb. 17, 2014

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what I’ve seen over the past week either in film or television. On the film side, if I have written a full length review already, I will post a link to that review. Otherwise, I’ll give a brief snippet of my thoughts on the film with a full review to follow at some point later. For television shows, seasons and what not, I’ll post individual comments here about each of them as I see fit.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

The Day of the Jackal

Few directors can boast a sterling, lengthy career with acclaim and consistency. Fred Zinnemann earned plenty of attention for his films from his early works to his later. The Day of the Jackal represents one of his later efforts, a tense thriller about the attempted assassination of French president Charles DeGaulle, based on an acclaimed novel.

Edward Fox plays the assassin, code name Jackal, who carefully plots the assassination as the French police attempt to stop a known assassin from killing their beloved president. The police are a formidable opponent, but the Jackal remains one step ahead of them the entire way. This is a showcase of brilliant editing piecing together an intricate, slow-boil plot.

In spite of the truly villainous things the Jackal does on his quest for murder, you can’t help but cheer on his success. In the end, you almost support his victory of killing DeGaulle just because of the effort and charm he puts into it. Much of that success is on Fox’s shoulders, but Zinnemann deftly handles the character so that the audience can support him while being reviled by his actions. Many films have attempted to follow this formula and while some have succeeded, The Day of the Jackal may be the most superlative film exploring the topic. Also noteworthy is Michael Lonsdale as the French inspector whose knowledge and gut instinct keep him on the trail long after others of his kind would have failed or given up.

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