Since his Academy Award® win for The Artist (2011), Jean Dujardin hasn't become as ubiquitous in Hollywood movies as we might have expected. Perhaps he simply found himself pigeoned holed and offered unappetising roles, or maybe he was happy to stay local and moonlight in the likes of The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) and The Monuments Men (2014). Either way, he will be back on our screens soon in the taut Gallic policier The Connection.
There is certainly a hint of Mesrine's (2008) stylised moodiness in there, underlined by the presence of Gilles Lellouche (Point Blank) as the Fernando Rey to Dujardin's Gene Hackman. Lellouche is Neapolitan heroin trafficker Tony Zampa, Dujardin is Pierre Michel, the Marseilles magistrate trying to bring him down.
It's the same tense terrain – and the same real life case – that was tapped by John Frankenheimer's The French Connection II (1975). The infamous 'French Connection' narc network, through which heroin flowed from Turkey to the US, via the bustling docks of Marseilles. Judging by the trailer, director Cédric Jimenez has built his true life thriller around a Neil McCauley/Vincent Hanna dynamic of crusading lawman and pragmatic villain going head-to-head in the glare of the Mediterranean sun.
Catch The Connection in UK cinemas from 29 May.