Watch Now: THE OUTSIDE MAN
Scripted by its director, Jacques Deray, joining forces with Bunuel’s frequent collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière and Ian McLellan Hunter, The Outside Man (Un homme est mort in French, meaning “a man died”) is a low-key jewel from 1972, a rare and competently made mixture of American noir and French gangster films. The plot is seemingly straightforward and immediately captivating: a French hitman played by Jean-Louis Trintignant is assigned to kill a major Los Angeles mobster, but as soon as he gets the job done, he finds his hotel room completely cleaned out. Not only is he stranded in a country he knows almost nothing about, he realizes a contract has been put on his life as well, as Roy Scheider’s cold-blooded assassin showers him with bullets every chance he gets. Isolated, left stranded and trying to get a grip on his puzzling surroundings, the protagonist turns to his boss’ old partner Nancy (Ann-Margret) for help, as the situation becomes darker with every passing second.
With a great cast consisting of four Oscar nominees (Scheider, Ann-Margret, Talia Shire, Jackie Earle Haley) and backed up with prolific icon Michel Legrand’s score, The Outside Man turned out to be a fast-paced, thrill-packed action film elevated by memorable performances, tight script and the avoidance of tempo-breaking exposition.