Paying homage to a classic film is risky business. (And we’re not even talking about Risky Business! #rimshot) I don’t mean remakes — that’s a whole other can of worms, and a discussion for another day. Instead, I’m talking about movies whose title and theme and overall raison d’être is owed to a previous film.
The Connection owes everything it is to The French Connection. It’s not subtle about that fact; it’s right there in the title, it’s right there in the trailer, it’s right there in the fabric of the film.
Because it’s a modern-day movie, it’s slicker than The French Connection. That just comes with the territory of making a movie 44 years after your inspiration. But watching it, I couldn’t connect with it (ugh, no pun intended) the way I had with the original.
The performances are all spot-on, and it’s incredibly well-made. I feel like this is a film I’d love if I watched it again, or if I had seen it with lower expectations. A lot of factors came together to build this up in my mind: it was affiliated with Drafthouse Films (and as such shown before just about every movie I saw for a month), it looked great, and it had that prestigious heritage. But things didn’t click for me.
I want to watch it again; I want to give it another shot. But I’m so obsessive about consuming new movies that I rarely give myself the “privilege” of re-watching something I’ve already seen. If I gave The Connection another shot, I have little doubt that I’d like it more. But as of now, I have to say it’s not worth your time. Go watch The French Connection instead.