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Two rival cops compete not only at work but for the heart of the same woman. Two masked men steal a street sign from the famous address of the police judiciare. Next, in a subterranean drinking club, a crowd of threatening, ugly men indulge in macho bonding as the first outbreak of gunfire. Two cops who loathe each other, cynical Vrinks and doggy loner Klein, are forced to work together, chasing the the same perps.
For more about 36th Precinct and the 36th Precinct Blu-ray release, see 36th Precinct Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on July 8, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Director: Olivier Marchal
Writers: Olivier Marchal, Julien Rappeneau, Dominique Loiseau, Franck Mancuso
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, André Dussollier, Valeria Golino, Solene Biasch, Roschdy Zem
» See full cast & crew
36th Precinct Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, July 8, 2011
Olivier Marchal's "36 Quai des Orfèvres" a.k.a "36th Precinct" (2004) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Palisades Tartan. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; teaser; making of featurette; video interview with director Olivier Marchal; and behind the scenes featurettes. In French, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
A group of highly skilled robbers has been terrorizing the city of Paris for months. Growing increasingly frustrated with the situation, senior police officer Robert Mancini (Andre Dussollier, Ne le dis à personne), who is ready to retire, announces that whoever nabs the robbers will inherit his job.
Top cops Leo Vrinks (Daniel Auteuil, Queen Margot) and Denis Klein (Gerard Depardieu, The Count of Monte Cristo) are the primary candidates. Leo has been friends with Denis for years, but lately the two men have become increasingly frustrated with each other.
Leo is a family man madly in love with his wife, Camille (Valeria Golino, Respiro), and daughter, Lola (Solene Biasch). He takes his job very seriously, but does not always follow the official rules and regulations. One of his best friends is a retired prostitute.
Denis is an ambitious cop with a drinking problem. His personal life is a disaster waiting to happen but he doesn't care; all he wants is Mancini's job and status.
Hugo Silien (Roschdy Zem, The Young Lieutenant), a criminal with a long record, has been let out of prison for a few days. He phones Leo and offers him a deal – if Leo attends an important meeting with him, he would tell him where the robbers everyone is looking for are hiding. Leo agrees and meets Hugo. The two drive to an upscale Parisian suburb where Hugo kills two men. Leo is enraged that Hugo has used him, but gets his lead and walks away. A few days later, his men attack the robbers. Klein, who has been unable to come to terms with the fact that Leo has managed to solve the case, gets drunk and causes the death of Leo's best friend. Internal affairs launch an investigation and quickly determine that Klein is innocent. Disgusted, Leo tells Mancini that he does not want his job and walks away. Shortly after, someone tips Klein about Leo's meeting with Hugo.
36 quai des orfèvres is an uncharacteristically brutal police thriller by Olivier Marchal (MR 73), an ex-cop turned-actor-turned-director. It is loosely based on true events that transpired in the city of Paris during the early 80s. Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu, two iconic French actors, play the main protagonists - two jaded cops on the road to self-destruction.
Both suffer a lot. However, Auteuil's character is the one who gets our sympathy because he loses far more than Depardieu does. Throughout the course of the film, he also gets more time in front of the camera, which helps us better understand his decisions.
Depardieu's character is easy to dislike - he is corrupt, manipulative and obsessed with power. Furthermore, his personal life is an ill-fated replica of his professional one; he appears to be in control, but in reality, he is an abandoned man with some serious emotional issues.
The two collide in a manner that will probably force many of you to compare 36 quai des orfèvres to Michael Mann's Heat (1995). Auteuil and Depardieu deliver spectacular performances that are truly impossible to separate - their characters are so dependent on each other that, frankly, I do not believe 36 quai des orfèvres would have been even partially as good as it is had one of them passed on it.
Cinematographer Denis Rouden's (Anthony Zimmer) contribution is invaluable. He transforms Paris into a gloomy, incredibly depressing place where crime and murder are part of everyday life. The action scenes in particular are stylishly photographed yet notably cold and gritty. As expected, Hollywood is already working on a remake appropriately titled 36.
36th Precinct Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Olivier Marchal's 36th Precinct arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Palisades Tartan.
The high-definition transfer Palisades Tartan have used for this Blu-ray release looks almost identical to the one their UK partners used for their local Blu-ray release. Compression, however, appears to be slightly better on the UK release. The U.S. high-definition transfer is also slightly softer, showing signs of delicate filtering (compare screencapture #19 here with screencapture #13 from the UK release). This being said, contrast levels and color reproduction are identical. The mild edge-enhancement from the UK release is also present here (see screencaptures #2 and 6), though, again, it is never a serious issue of concern. Large damage marks, scratches, debris, or stains are nowhere to be seen. Lastly, there are absolutely no serious stability issues whatsoever. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
36th Precinct Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: French Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0. For the record, Palisades Tartan have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
Palisades Tartan have replaced the excellent French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track their UK partners used with a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track and added up a very weak English Dolby Digital 2.0 dub. Needless to say, this is extremely disappointing. Additionally, the main menu indicates that the disc should also contain a French Dolby Digital 2.0 track, but I was never able to access it (I could only choose the French Version of the film, which defaults to the French Dolby Digital 5.1 track, or the English Version of the film, which defaults to the English Dolby Digital 2.0 track).
The French Dolby Digital 5.1 track is underwhelming. I ran a few quick tests with my UK Blu-ray release of 36 quai des orfèvres and the gap in quality between the French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 from the UK release and this French Dolby Digital 5.1 track is quite big. This is not to say that the French Dolby Digital 5.1 track is defective, but the French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track has depth and intensity which the French Dolby Digital 5.1 track simply lacks. The dialog, however, is still crisp, clean, stable, and easy to follow.
36th Precinct Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
36th Precinct Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I don't understand the decision to replace the strong loseless audio track Palisades Tartan-UK included on their Blu-ray release of 36 Quai des Orfèvres with a lossy track and add a poor English dub for the U.S. Blu-ray release. Why not simply replicate the UK Blu-ray release for the U.S. market? The best I could do is recommend that you rent this release if you want to see the film. If you wish to own the film, I suggest that you consider importing the Region-Free and English-friendly French Blu-ray release (reviewed here) or the UK Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release (reviewed here). RENT IT.
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36th Precinct Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Olivier Marchal's 36th Precinct Announced for Blu-ray - April 30, 2011
Palisades Tartan have announced that they will release on Blu-ray Olivier Marchal's sizzling crime drama 36 Quai des Orfèvres a.k.a 36th Precinct (2004), starring legendary French actors Gerard Depardieu (Camille Claudel, Cyrano de Bergerac) and Daniel Auteuil ...
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