Emotions between men are rarely expressed on screen with much subtlety in Hollywood. Most common are buddy movies, where bonds are forged through shared risks and violence (the Lethal Weapon series, for example). Though the characters often experience brief moments of vulnerability, a general atmosphere of joking and posturing prevails. Even when the relationships are less reliant on adventure and action, there is always a shying away from any type of real emotional intimacy - whether it’s for fear of homoerotic readings or simply a concern about how to effectively show connection between men on screen, this avoidance of intimacy ultimately makes it hard to find truly deep male friendships at the movies.
Claude Sautet’s Classe Tous Risques, though, was made far from Hollywood; perhaps as a result, it is full of subtle, powerful moments between men. Sautet’s film tells a typical gangster story: man makes one final score before quitting a life of crime; something goes wrong and loved ones are killed; man faces betrayal by those he trusts. In summary, however, the majesty of the film is lost - though these events do occur, Classe Tous Risques isn’t really about them. Instead, it’s about men, and what happens when the relationships change. About how men look when they realize they’ve found someone they can trust, and when they’ve been betrayed. And it’s about what happens when men realize they can no longer stand who they’ve become. In the end, it’s a gangster movie film about relationships.