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The Independent Culture

Those titans of French acting, Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu, play rival flics in Olivier Marchal's occasionally brutal policier. Taking its title from the address of the French police HQ in Paris (at 36 Quai des Orfevres), it unfolds a story of corruption in the higher echelons: Vrinks (Auteuil) and Klein (Depardieu), once good friends who fell out over a woman, compete to catch the armed gang responsible for several robberies in the capital. Whoever succeeds will be awarded the top job, and so each contrives to outwit the other.

Marchal is plainly an admirer of Michael Mann's Heat, and nods to it in several ballistic set pieces between cops and robbers. Yet the American influence proves less palatable in his taste for sentimentality and the pomp of official ceremony - two funerals and an investiture - when a keener focus on the woman (Valeria Golino) who came between the two cops would have strengthened its narrative line. The acting of the two big cheeses is great, but the material whiffs like Camembert.

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