Léo Vrinks (Daniel Auteuil) and Denis Klein (Gérard Depardieu) are seasoned cops who work from the HQ at 36 Quai des Orfèvres. It's a dirty beat, and both Vrinks and Klein use unorthodox and even illegal means to get their leads. Long time colleagues and once friends, their relationship has soured under increasingly heated professional rivalry. It all comes to a head when Commissioner Robert Manciniand (André Dussollier) is about to retire, and offers promotion into his job to whichever of the two bags the gang organising a series of brutal armed robberies targeting armoured cash vans.

In the underbelly of the Parisian criminal world, the Police are frustrated by a gang.

For decades crime films were a staple of French cinema, popular with both critics and audiences. Named \'le film policier noir\', meaning \'a genre in film\' where the narrative centres on a criminal case or the world of crime\', they first appeared on screen in the 1930s. Jean Renoir\'s La Nuit Du Carrefour (The Night at the Crossroad) from 1932 was recognised as one of the first, the genre continued with gusto three decades later by New Wave directors such as Jean-Pierre Melville with films like Le Samourai (1967). While these films are not so present in French cinema any more \' it\'s more populated with hyper-realist dramas and French farce \' the latest \'policier noir\', 36 Quai Des Orfeveres, was clearly inspired by those kinds of noir thrillers. It takes its title from the address of Paris\'s famed police headquarters, 36 Quai Des Orfeveres. French superstars Daniel Auteuil (The Lost Son, The Girl On The Bridge), and Gerard Depardieu (Green Card, Too Beautiful For You) have teamed up before in the wildly popular comedy The Closet (2001). It\'s bad cop, worse cop here though. They play rivals of a very different nature in this story of police corruption, based on two real-life cases. Auteuil is Leo Vrincks, a hero to his colleagues but also with one foot in the underworld. He is pitted against Depardieu\'s ruthless and ambitious Denis Klein, a peer of equal rank. Their boss promises his Commissioner post to whoever of the two is first to crack a pressing case. Both men enter the race to bring down a violent gang terrorising the streets of Paris. Things go horribly wrong in this deadly battle of ethics and morality. The only thing I found surprising about 36 Quai Des Orfevres was just how closely it resembled a Hollywood police drama/blockbuster. Comparisons with Michael Mann\'s film Heat (1995) and The French Connection (1971) are inevitable, and for that matter, any movie made by Tony Scott in the last ten years. Such was its melodrama and artifice. In other words, this all style over substance, a pale imitation of those great American films, and less of a classic French crime thriller than a French movie desperately to appeal to an American market. It\'s so formulaic, it may very well work\' But what about the French audience and for that matter the rest of us, used to French films with far better and less generic scripts? It\'s no secret that the French have had an open love affair with American genre films for decades, and yet have always managed to assimilate those influences into their movies without appearing derivative. If anything they improve upon the originals from which they have taken, not merely ape them because they sell well in the marketplace. And that is what appears to be going on here. Which is kind of ironic when you think about it given the French fiercely protect their cultural identity on screen - quota legislation exists in France restricting the amount of American movies released. Ultimately 36 Quai Des Orfeveres is derivative, disappointing and dull.

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