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Critics' Pick That Man From Rio (L'homme de Rio)

Movie Details

  • Genre: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Romance
  • Running Time: 114 min.
  • Director: Philippe de Broca
  • Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Françoise Dorleac, Jean Servais, Simone Renant, Roger Dumas
  • Writers: Philippe de Broca, Daniel Boulanger

Jean-Paul Belmondo in a white dinner jacket. There. That should be enough to sell you on Philippe de Broca's 1964 crime caper–spoof That Man From Rio, but if for some reason it's not, let's throw in Jean-Paul Belmondo on a motorcycle, Jean-Paul Belmondo elbowing his way onto a flight from Paris to Rio de Janeiro with no ticket or passport, and Jean-Paul Belmondo performing his own stunts. Still not sold? Two more words: Françoise Dorléac. And if that doesn't do it, there's no hope.

In That Man From Rio she and Belmondo make a formidable romantic pair, driving one another mad, even as they prove that they're clearly made for each other. Belmondo's Adrien is an army private looking forward to enjoying an eight-day leave: He's come to Paris to visit his girl, Dorléac's Agnès, arriving just in time to see her being kidnapped by art thieves. What the thugs are really after is the last of a trio of ancient South American statues that may hold mystical secrets, and Agnès, the daughter of a renowned anthropologist who died in the service of his profession, just may have a bead on the precious tchotchke. Adrien follows the kidnappers first to Rio and then on to Brasilia, giving chase by land, sea, and air. At one he point even swings from a jungle vine.

If it all sounds unaccountably mad, it is. That Man From Rio is a crazy delight, a stylish, early-'60s pastiche that folds in every adventure-movie cliché you've ever seen, and possibly invents a few new ones.

Stephanie Zacharek

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