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Claude Sautet Max and the Junkmen Review

Disc Reviews

Crime and Punishment: Sautet’s Enthralling Policier an Obscure Neo-Noir “Max and the Junkmen” | Blu-ray Review

Crime and Punishment: Sautet’s Enthralling Policier an Obscure Neo-Noir “Max and the Junkmen” | Blu-ray Review

An unsung genre masterpiece from Claude Sautet, 1971’s Max and the Junkmen comes to Blu-ray for the first time courtesy of Kino Lorber. Featuring Sautet’s frequent muse Romy Schneider and Michel Piccoli, the latter stars as a detective playing both sides against the middle when he poses as a wealthy banker tempting a group of petty thieves to rob a bank. The only trouble is the gang leader’s prostitute girlfriend, with whom he falls in love. Based on a novel by Claude Neron, the title is eclipsed by Sautet’s own filmography of lauded dramatic pieces, particularly those he was best remembered for at the tail end of his career.

From our review of the 2015 Claude Sautet Retrospective:

Things of Life, Claude Sautet re-teamed with his leads Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider for a return to the criminal tendencies comprising his earlier filmography as a director. Less well known today than his 1960 classic Classe Tous Risques, Sautet’s 1971 devious psychological drama Max and the Junkmen is well worth reexamination in modern contexts. As has been pointed out before, Sautet’s genre efforts have long languished in the shadows of Jean-Pierre Meville’s filmography, with well-renowned crime sagas like Le Samourai (1967) and Le Cercle Rouge (1970) having already been released by the time Sautet hit his stride. But while Melville’s celebrated filmography focuses on precise elaboration, Sautet’s outings within genre tend to be character oriented, in particular lending this title a melancholy tint, doubled over in its final, dramatic climax.

Disc Review:

Kino Lorber adds yet another Sautet title to their Studio Classics label, presenting Max and the Junkmen in 1.66:1. Picture and sound quality are serviceable in this release which includes an audio commentary track from film historian Samm Deighan.

Film Rating: ★★★★/☆☆☆☆☆
Disc Rating: ★★★/☆☆☆☆☆

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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