Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville), a New York reporter, has been enlisted to quietly track down a missing French United Nations delegate before the wrong people find him, mainly the press. To track down the diplomat, however, he needs the help of an alcoholic press photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) who is looking for the perfect scoop, a picture that will bring down a celebrity or politician and make him rich. Their search takes them through classic Old New York, from the backstage of a Broadway play to a burlesque hall and a recording studio. When they finally find the man they have been searching for, they are faced with a moral dilemma with life-changing consequences for their actions. Should they lie and cover up a diplomat's indiscretions to spare his wife and daughter from public shame, or should Delmas expose the truth for entirely selfish reasons?
Two Men in Manhattan is a complicated love letter to Old New York, reveling in its beauty and culture as much as its dark, grittier element. The two central characters Moreau and Delmas are similarly complicated, neither standing on their own as a clear-cut protagonist. It is easier to take the side of Moreau because his actions would protect the innocent from tabloid vultures, but he would do it even if they weren't involved because it is his job. Delmas' actions are more reprehensible, but when he gives up his golden ticket, the audience can't help but feel for him.
One minor complaint is that modern audiences might feel the pacing is a bit slow, but for cinephiles, Two Men in Manhattan on Blu-ray is worth a watch, if not a purchase.
Special features on the Blu-ray include a conversation on the film between Jonathan Rosenbaum and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and trailers for the film.
"Two Men in Manhattan" is on sale September 17, 2013 and is not rated. Crime, Drama, Foreign. Directed by Jean Pierre Melville. Written by Jean-Pierre Melville. Starring Jean Pierre Melville, Pierre Grasset.