Film: Double Bill

Anthony Neilson, director of `the debt collector', released 25 June, on his ideal cinematic pairing
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The Independent Culture
The Offence

(Sidney Lumet, 1972)

Violent Cop

(Takeshi Kitano, 1989)

"I'VE ALWAYS loved cop movies because, ultimately, they're about the struggle for civilisation. The law-enforcer embodies man's aspiration to divinity, yet he is always merely a man. In the best of the genre, the cops know this about themselves and are driven by it; the beasts they hunt are themselves.

This is explored in , a virtual two-hander played between Sean Connery's disgusted policeman and Ian Bannen's suspected child-murderer. Bannen's excellent, but it's Connery's bad lieutenant who's really riveting; all the wasps that nested in 007 buzzing horribly into view.

What's heartening about this otherwise grim film is that it credits us with some psychological intelligence. There are no clear lines, no obvious reason for either man's sickness. It challenges us to understand the core of a person.

The crude title of Kitano's Violent Cop may put people off, but it's a masterpiece of the genre, and mostly unleavened with the lyricism of later work. It's certainly violent, but violence as it is: sudden, ugly and utterly pointless. Kitano stalks his prey relentlessly but, as the bodies mount up, his almost comical walk melts into a sad, listless drift through the mechanics of death. Unlike , this is a deadpan, linear, sometimes funny film, like Dirty Harry remade by Ozu, that pulls off at least one amazing coup: a melancholic car chase."