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Review: Un nommé La Rocca – A Man Named Rocca (1961)

Director: Jean Becker | 102 minutes | drama | Actors: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Christine Kaufmann, Pierre Vaneck, Béatrice Altariba, Henri Virlojeux, Mario David, Nico, Pedro Serano, Charles Moulin, Jean-Pierre Darras, Edmond Beauchamp, Jack Léonard, Jean Gras, Michel Constantin,

With ‘Un nommé La Rocca’ it is unclear whether Jean Becker’s management is so mediocre, or whether the book by José Giovanni on which the is based is so thin. In any case, the dull gangster story cannot fascinate. Becker leaves a lot to guess, the dialogues are monotonous and the characters are simply not explored. The fact that the plot is illogical and the main character makes a number of contradictory choices does not help either.

Roberto La Rocca (Jean-Piere Belmondo, who conspicuously appeared in six films in 1961) is a local gangster who learns that his friend Xavier (Pierre Vaneck) has been wrongly arrested for murder and sets out to prove his innocence. Arriving in Marseilles, Rocca seeks out the man who framed Xavier and, in a soulless scene, puts a bullet in the head. Soon after, he ends up in jail himself for shooting four Americans who wanted to shoot him. The French legal system in all its splendor.

The second part of the movie, in which the two friends are in prison, is the nicest. Especially in the scenes in which Rocca and Xavier have to clear old mines in exchange for a reduced sentence, there is some tension. The end is as cryptic as the beginning and leaves the viewer unsettled. Writer Giovanni himself was not satisfied with this debut by Becker (who reportedly only managed to get Belmondo because they were football friends) and tried it himself eleven years later, and again with Belmondo, with ‘La Scoumoune’, which was also unsuccessful. . Probably it was the book itself.

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