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Adrift in L.A. after he is called in for a hit on a mob boss, a Parisian contract killer (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is chased across the city by a gum-smacking assassin (Roy Scheider) in this lean, mean cult thriller from director Jacques Deray.
"Jacques Deray is the post-Melville master of the série noire movie, and The Outside Man may be his masterpiece" (Thom Andersen). Andersen, authority on all films made in Los Angeles, has long championed this cult thriller as one of the great L.A. movies. Lean, mean, and bewilderingly entertaining, The Outside Man stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as a contract killer who travels from Paris to L.A. to carry out a hit on a local mob boss, only to find himself being pursued by an assassin (a tight, taciturn, gum-smacking Roy Scheider). Stripped of his documents and mysteriously checked out of his hotel, the "outside man" wanders through a decaying city peopled by the sleazy and scheming, every inner sanctum turning out to be a death trap. Angie Dickinson brings a blast of a/c to her cameo as the mob boss' conniving wife, while her opposite, Ann-Margret, plays the pathetic proprietor of a topless bar who helps Trintignant despite his indifferent treatment of her. Full of exciting chases and culminating in a shoot-out in a funeral parlour, The Outside Man takes Melvillian chill to a new kind of cool. "Perfect casting for Trintignant" (Time Out London).