Judge Fayard is the Sheriff (1977)
directed by:Yves Boisset
Judge Fayard is a incorruptible agent of justice that has to deal on a daily basis with the trappings of the French justice system and the evil ways of the Mafia.When he gets close to a local racket lead by powerful figureheads of the mob with connections to the state, the walls start closing in.Will he manage to kill the monster?
Derivative justice/crime more drama than action film aided by some passionate acting and decent film making ,but plagued by a very complex and talky storyline is the name of the game here.
Cool thing is that Patrick Dewaere lives and breathes Le Sheriff.His performance is passionate and very adequate.He occasionally reminded me some similar parts performed by Franco Nero.Truth be told,I wouldn’t be very surprised if this movie was directed by the likes of Damiano Damiani or Enzo Castellari,especially the former,as the whole style and narrative nod heavily to the Italian crime/action genre.However Boisset relies on his story and refrains from stylish film making.This is a shame.My VHS copy is of dismal quality though.So I cannot be a 100% sure when it comes to Boisset’s actual compositions,but as much as I figured out,his style is fairly traditional.
As far as storyline is concerned,there are some references to the Algerian war and to the events that lead to the historic May of 1968 but the script deals with the corruption of the state and justice system for the most part.French viewers can definitely relate to the story but for foreigners “Le Sheriff” plays solely like a relatively good justice drama.
“Judge Fayard is the Sheriff” is good for what it is,an interesting curio nonetheless and quite dissimilar to the French Neo-noir crime epics of Lautner and Melville but it hardly is a revelation of any sorts.
Recommended only to the fans of French genre cinema and to the crime flick afficionados in general.