Yes, it's a fine thriller, but the truly transcendent moment in this film doesn't involve the heist hijinks except in an oblique way. I'm talking about that terrific "Rififi" musical number.
It's clearly the result of a troubled shoot, but the ellipses here--which aren't really gaps in narrative, just lurches from story beat to beat, which, given that this is a De Palma film, means that those lurches are often also lurches from formal device to formal device--make this material all the more fascinating, destabilizing the film and allowing De Palma's images to speak more directly with one another.
In an earlier interview, De Palma said he liked his final cut…
Frankenheimer handles chaotic action with breathtaking energy and clarity; the car chases in this film are a master-class in action cinema. While Frankenheimer allows himself a few marvelous flourishes (the very best being a quick edit from blood splashed on a car window to an ice skater's red sweater), his direction is mostly understated here, but never less than precise.