Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Hitman Jef Costello is a perfectionist who always carefully plans his murders and who never gets caught...
International superstar Alain Delon as Jef, an assassin whose world is turned upside down when a routine hit gets a tad bit tricky in this Jean-Pierre Melville crime drama. Chirping birds. The way Alain Delon looks wearing his raincoat and top hat. Barking doggie. Plate switcheroo. French hottie. Perfect alibi. High-stakes poker. Fuck the Surgeon General! Smoking is cool. Quick Draw Jef. Michael Jackson's white glove? Police harassment. Usual Suspects-esque moment. Hat game. Identity game. Alain's eyes. Sunny day rain. Subway escape. Stairway walk. Does Alain ever take his hands out of his pockets? Double-cross. Hat rack. Sexy piano playin' vixen. High-tech security system. A breaking and entering straight outta Le Cercle Rouge. Tricky coppers. Swivel chair. Shattered glass. The…
By choosing Alain Delon for the role of Jef Costello - the brooding, silent assassin who slinks through the murky shadows of the Parisian night - Jean-Pierre Melville highlights the importance of casting. Getting the right person onboard who can disappear into their character and embody their spirit. When a director can focus their lens onto a face that tells a story of its own, the hardest part of capturing the attention of the audience is done.
Very quickly after meeting the assassin, questions about Costello quickly rack up. Where has he come from to arrive at this point in his life as a consummate professional killer for hire? How long has he been living in solitude tending to his…
There is no solitude greater than that of the samurai unless it be that of a tiger in the jungle... perhaps...
There's a reason the word suave originates from the French language. This fantastic film noir, from its opening shot, swept me along accompanied by smooth jazzy music and told me the story of an incredibly intriguing protagonist.
Alain Delon is captivating. I watched him in a daze as he portrayed the steely eyed, methodical and outwardly emotionless killer. His look in this film has an iconic feel to it and, apart from being an important element in the first half of the film, really strengthens this film's fantastic style.
Melville is almost as methodical as his hero. He structures…
THE URBAN SAMURAI
Less you speak. More you say.
There is no greater solitude than that of the samurai unless it is that of the tiger in the jungle... Perhaps...
— Bushido (Book of the Samurai)
1) Tigre dans la jungle
Jeff Costello smokes his cigarette, and the title appears and one or two are said information on the screen, it's Saturday night and is. And that's enough for us. Le Samurai has a story and a simple and minimalist plot as everything else is. From the little dialogue that is spoken only 9 minutes and 58 seconds exactly and the first line is: Jef? - What is good to have a few dialogues can give a quick attention to…
That was almost a lethal dose of cool. The raincoat and hat clad hitman at the center of Le Samourai is a smooth talking, deliberately paced isolationist with a stone face and piercing eyes that are always looking towards his next contract hit. The hitman, Jef Costello, has all the qualities of a noir protagonist; quiet, brooding, smoking a cigarette, walking in the rain and living in the shadows. But this noir protagonist walks straight out of the 40's and into the 60's French New Wave film movement.
Jef is a man of straight edges. His sharp downturned eyebrows, the lines on his coat and the perpetually…
The samurai in Akira Kurosawa's films lead honorable lives, although they are essentially contract killers, like Jef Costello in Le Samourai. But a samurai lives by a code of honor, bound by his loyalty to other people. Jef Costello lives and kills by his own rules, obligated to no one but himself.
We are told nothing of Costello's past, of what compels him to live a life of such solitude and discipline, or why he works as a paid killer. His apartment betrays no clues, stark and bare as it is. He moves like a shadow. He is always well-dressed and effortlessly suave. Costello is cold and detached at all times, his calm demeanor unshaken by everything but a bullet…
Sillier at times than I expected given the film's continued cool factor, but pleasurably spare. Is this what Corbijn was going for in The American? Oh la la, Anton. Only God Forgives and, of course, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, were also clarified by this viewing. Under the umbrella of Melville's direction, Decae's textural, even-handed cinematography and Alex Pront's gentle sound design are atmospheric standouts, building a meditative state of being that does as much if not more to convey Jef's mood than Delon's pretty, melancholy face. A terrific surprise ending more than makes up for the occasional moments of pretentious wish-fulfillment (I kept wandering how Jef would maintain his cool if M. Hulot stumbled into his nightclub, or if a woman ever dared to be disinterested in him), sealing the story into an enclosed loop. Not quite as narratively elegant as one of Mamet's fatalistic morality plays like Redbelt or Homicide, but stylistically brilliant.
My first Melville is long overdue, but I’m glad I managed to witness one of the most stylish thrillers of all-time eventually. Honestly, this movie is dripping in brilliant cinematography, surrounded by some of the tightest suspense I’ve witnessed and surely the suavest lead performance ever committed to film. It’s enthralling the way Melville constructs the suspense, managing to build Le Samourai around several set-pieces, all of which are as stylish as the next. I won’t proclaim it as a masterpiece just yet, but this is what cool is about.
"Nothing to say?"
"Not with a gun on me."
"Is that a principle?"
Jean-Pierre Melville takes a Hollywood crime thriller and takes away many of the genre's most distinctive qualities: the action set-pieces, dialog, and colors in Le Samourai are all diminished and sometimes outright eliminated. Melville strips away all extraneous elements, leaving only character and narrative, and allowing him to tell a tale that is enormously compelling and unspeakably cool.
A contract killer caught between the police and the people who hired him. It has none of Hollywood’s usual action-packed scenes, blood and gore, and snarky heroes found in current suspense thrillers. The film is pared down to the bare essentials with a tight plot, understated cinematography and minimal dialogue. This is my first Melville film and it is a testament to his skilled direction that I found the film more satisfying than any of today’s thrillers. It also helps to have an Alain Delon portray the existential anti-hero. He is perfect as the killer with an impassive face caught between his emotions and the code of his trade. And I just have to say that, while his pretty boy…
Le Samouraï exists completely in his own world. Our protagonist Jef Costello keeps his world precise and ordered amid chaos. Each detail is important. And so too the film feels exceptionally precise the whole way through with out being predictable.
Though sparse, the music is beautiful. It is as cold as the lens' color palate. And it follows Jef's interior life. During moments of life or death it is completely absent, just as is any doubt in Jef's mind what to do. In calm moments inbetween action the music is as tumultuous as Jef's mind. Decisions, decisions...
Often walls are unadorned. This allows textures to come through. Simple blues, beiges and grays fill the screen letting impeccable light and shadow…
"I never lose. Never completely."
Fanns det verkligen ingen bättre plats att placera buggen på?
What many consider to be Melville's masterpiece is impossible to call minimalist. The colors are too vibrant, the shots too stylish for the connotations of such a term. However, Le Samourai represents a process of simplifying, in order to arrive at something vibrant in all aspects, something bare and beautiful. This can most obviously be seen in the films plot and script.
The plot of Le Samurai is simple. A hired assassin fulfills his mission, but makes a fatal error. Although he could live, he chooses to die. Professionalism and some sort of code form the groundwork of his psychology (it is surprising to read that Melville called the film a study in Schizophrenia). Unlike Le Doulos or Le Deuxieme…
Everyone can learn what is screenplay from this movie and from melville.. A evergreen classic gangster movie..
Coolest film ever made.
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All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
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- The Godfather: Part II
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