• The Outsider (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: July 2nd, 2019.
    Director: Jacques Deray
    Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Henry Silva, Tchéky Karyo, Roger Dumas, Michel Robin, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
    Year: 1983
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    The Outsider – Movie Review:

    The Outsider, or Le Marginal en Francais if you so prefer, follows the exploits of a cop named Commissaire Philippe Jordan. He’s a tough guy, the type of cop who will gladly bend the rules if it means getting his man and in this particular story, his man happens to be Sauveur Meccacci (Henry Silva), the drug lord at the top of a smuggling ring. When Jordan chases down an informant, smacks him around and gets word of a shipment going out by speedboat, he has his associate fly him out in a helicopter so that he can leap into the boat, force the two-man crew into the hull and dump a whole lot of cocaine overboard into the ocean (there were probably a lot of very happy fish of the coast of Marseille that sunny afternoon). Jordan is also a lady’s man. We learn this early on when he takes a female friend back to his unusually aristocratic apartment for a little quality time, only to have that quality time ruined when they find the dead body of the aforementioned informant in the living room.

    Jordan’s methods soon land him in hot water with his boss, which in turns lands him a new gig patrolling the red-light district but this soon works in his favor for two reasons. The first? He befriends a drop-dead gorgeous hooker with a heart of gold named Livia (Carlos Sotto Mayor). The second? Here he learns of a man named Alfredo ‘Freddy’ The Chemist (Michel Robin), an aging gay man with a thing for younger men who, if the price is right, will tell the cops everything they need to know to bring Meccacci down for good. From here on out, Jordan does what he can to find Freddy and get him on his side – which involves cruising a leather bar at one point – and trying to get a few of his fellow cops on board before Meccacci’s men kill him first. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but it all leads up to an absolutely killer car chase and some pretty bad ass action in the finale.

    Jacques Deray, probably best known for directing Alain Delon in The Swimming Pool and Flic Story, paces this picture pretty well. The script isn’t particularly deep, it’s more or less just there to string together some admittedly impressive action set pieces, but it gets the job done. Sure, characters waltz in and out of the movie without a lot of merit sometimes, but it doesn’t really matter that much because the movie is basically a showcase for Jean-Paul Belmondo’s abilities -and he’s good! He’s a big guy, good at throwing his weight around, likeable with his goofy smile and his homely looks but the guy has screen presence to spare and Deray lets him use it. It’s also impressive to note that it sure looks like Belmondo did most, if not all, of his own stunt work in the picture. Realistically speaking there were probably stunt men used here and there but that’s definitely him hanging off the side of the helicopter and that’s definitely him behind the wheel of that Mustang ripping through the narrow streets of the Marseille waterfront. That counts for something.

    The rest of the cast are decent. Silva’s screen presence is, unfortunately, minimized by the fact that he’s clearly speaking his lines in English but is dubbed in French. He also doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as he should, given that he’s Henry God Damn Silva. C’est la vie – it was a movie made for the French market after all. Brazilian born Carlos Sotto Mayor, who had a career of screen as a pop singer in the eighties and early nineties and who would work with Deray and Belmondo again in 1987’s The Loner, is underused here but she’s pretty and charming and likeable and shares a good chemistry with the clearly much older Belmondo.

    The cinematography and stunt work is great. The score from Ennio Morricone isn’t quite as iconic as some of his other work but it’s still top tier. Worth seeing for the car chase scene alone, The Outsider may not reinvent the wheel as far as cop thrillers go but it uses its (often times very sleazy) Marseille locations wonderfully and it offers up all sorts of thrills, chills and spills.

    The Outsider – Blu-ray Review:

    The Outsider makes its debut on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber on a 25GB disc framed at 1.66.1 widescreen and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. This may have been taken from an existing master rather than a minty-fresh restoration but it looks quite good. There’s a bit of flatness here and there and a tiny bit of crush in some of the darker scenes but these are pretty easy to overlook as the transfer otherwise shapes up quite nicely. Detail is generally pretty strong and color reproduction seems spot on. Contrast is good and black levels are pretty solid. Skin tones also look nice and lifelike here. The image shows a natural amount of film grain but very little in the way of noticeable print damage. The picture retains a film-like quality throughout, there aren’t any issues with obvious sharpening or noise reduction to complain about.

    The French language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, which comes with optional subtitles in English only, is clean, clear and properly balanced. Ennio Morricone’s score comes through with good clarity and pretty solid range. Dialogue stays easily discernible throughout and there are no audible problems with any hiss or distortion to note. The subtitles were easy to read and free of any noticeable typos.

    The main extra on this release is an audio commentary track from Samm Deign, who writes for Diabolique Magazine and co-hosts the Daughters Of Darkness podcast. She speaks here with great enthusiasm about the picture, discussing important background details regarding Deray’s career as well as Belmondo’s and Silva’s. She talks up the importance of the Morricone score, some of the locations used in the picture, and quite a bit more. It is a solid track and a nice addition to the disc.

    Aside from that, we get trailers for the feature and bonus trailers for The Professional, Les Doulos and The Sicilian Clan. Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    The Outsider – The Final Word:

    The Outsider holds up, it’s a solid cop-thriller highlighted by a strangely charming performance from Belmondo, a fun (if underused) Henry Silva and some keen supporting players. The action scenes are really well done and the movie also serves as an interesting time capsule of early eighties Marseille. Kino’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds quite strong, and the commentary on the disc is worthwhile – recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized The Outsider Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. VinceP's Avatar
      VinceP -
      Ian, between this and Le Professionnel, which do you think is the better film?
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Le Professionnel (review next week), but this one is still a lot of fun and if liked Le Professionnel you'll enjoy this one too.
    1. VinceP's Avatar
      VinceP -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jane View Post
      Le Professionnel (review next week), but this one is still a lot of fun and if liked Le Professionnel you'll enjoy this one too.
      This is the one I saw. I thought it was okay, didn't really blow my socks off. Guess I'll wait for another sale before checking out Professionnel.