A nifty caper film that is drenched in atmosphere -- both of its location and its era -- Any Number Can Win is a treat for those who relish heist flics. Unlike many other films in this genre, Number doesn't belabor its plot. Oh, sure, the details of the cape are gone over and stressed, but there's a languid approach to the film, courtesy of director Henri Verneuil, that seems to say, "Yes, yes, the plot is interesting, but not more so than the way that Alain Delon approaches that girl by the pool or the manner in which Jean Gabin takes in his accomplice's actions." In other words, the characters are as intriguing to Verneuil as the plot, and he is not at all afraid to linger over scenes to capture details and nuances that may not greatly affect the story's outcome but which flesh out the people marvelously. Of course, with Gabin and Delon on hand, there's plenty to work with. Gabin's craggy but still striking face conveys torrents of emotion and meaning with the slightest grimace, and there's subtle power in everything the man does. Delon was at the height of his physical beauty here, and he uses that stunning appeal to great affect, never more so than when he is seeing his charm amusingly fail to register as expected. The supporting cast is quite good, and the ultra-1960's-chic setting is delightful, even in black-and-white. Michael Magne's cool jazz score is also worth noting.
by Craig Butler review