The Day of the Jackal
The Jackal. A tall, blond Englishman with opaque, gray eyes. A killer at the top of his profession. A man unknown to any secret service in the world. An assassin with a contract to kill the world’s most heavily guarded man.
One man with a rifle who can change the course of history. One man whose mission is so secretive not even his employers know his name. And as the minutes count down to the final act of execution, it seems that there is no power on earth that can stop the Jackal.
Barnes and Noble
Frederick Forsyth’s classic contribution to the thriller genre is The Day of the Jackal, an electrifying story about a man who is known only as the Jackal, the world’s most dangerous, enigmatic, and elusive assassin. The Jackal has a new and extremely dangerous contract: to kill Charles de Gaulle, the world’s most heavily guarded man. Definitely among the all-time greats.
The Richard Gere/Bruce Willis bomb was destined for a quick exit from the big screen, which is too bad since this is an exemplary sampler of up-to-the-minute electronica. Norman Cook (ex-Housemartins/Beats International) reemerges here as Fatboy Slim, neatly sampling The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” for lead track “Going Out of My Head.” And tracks by Prodigy, Bush, Moby, Lunatic Calm, and Black Grape’s pro-pot anthem “Get Higher” (which craftily subverts a comment by Ronald Reagan) keep the pace jumping. —Jeff Bateman
With its high-intensity plot about an attempt to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle, the bestselling novel by Frederick Forsyth was a prime candidate for screen adaptation. Director Fred Zinnemann brought his veteran skills to bear on what has become a timeless classic of screen suspense. Not to be confused with the later remake The Jackal starring Bruce Willis (which shamelessly embraced all the bombast that Zinnemann so wisely avoided), this 1973 thriller opts for lethal elegance and low-key tenacity in the form of the Jackal, the suave…
The best way to enjoy this 1997 thriller is to forget the much better film that inspired it (1973’s The Day of the Jackal) and get whatever kicks you can from this heavy-metal remake. It’s not bad as hokey thrillers go, but all of the original film’s suspenseful finesse has been traded in (not traded up) for bigger, bolder action and nonsensical plotting. It’s as if Hollywood had forgotten to create excitement without resorting to overblown action and heavy hardware, but there’s ample compensation in the casting of Bruce Willis and Richard Gere. Willis is…