French hit man Lucien Bellon (Jean-Louise Trintignant) arrives in Los Angeles to kill an American gangster (film noir staple Ted de Corsia in his last role). Dully carrying out his assignment as the gangsters wife (Angie Dickinson) and son stand mutely by and watch, he returns to his hotel and finds his passport and luggage missing with another hit man (Roy Scheider) gunning for him. The pair then play a cat mouse game through the sun baked seediness of early 70's Los Angeles.
Along the way Trintignant hooks up with a hardened topless bar manager (played with a tough as nails brassiness by Ann Margaret) as he attempts to navigate through a totally alien world where he doesn't even speak the language. Director Deray uses the city as almost a main character with its endless freeways, concrete lined streets and intrusive modern technology including TV's that drone away in the back ground at every possible moment. The film is reminiscent somewhat of John Boorman's excellent L.A. based neo noir POINT BLANK with its detached protagonist wondering through a cold mechanized world.
The entire cast is excellent (this probably Ann Margaret's best role) and Scheider with about five lines of dialogue seems to having a great time with his role. Coming off the previous year's THE FRENCH CONNECTION he gets the central image in the promotional artwork. THE OUTSIDE MAN in available on DVD from MGM through their on demand service, but this really deserves a nice blu-ray release.