CinemaCl🎃wn’s review published on Letterboxd:
There's an uncanny quality about the story depicted in Le Samouraï. An inexplicable uniqueness in the ambience it radiates. And an aesthetic simplicity in the manner its events unfold in front of the viewers. It tells the story of an extremely methodical assassin named Jef Costello, who meticulously plans each of his murders plus never leaves behind any trace & has a strong alibi as his back-up just in case anything goes wrong. And this whole film is concerned with that one kill only which goes wrong.
The film opens with the introduction of Jef Costello about to execute one of his carefully planned murders & from then on it maintains a level of sophistication in its narration that's pure mastery. Having heard nothing but only praise about this film from almost everyone here for past many months resulted in me going for it with sky-high expectations which in the end were met but weren't exceeded, Le Samouraï no doubt turned out to be a gem of a cinema but it didn't blow me away like I was expecting it to. I know, my mistake. Anticipated way too much!
Anyway, coming back to the movie, the direction by Jean-Pierre Melville is slick & stylish, the camera-work makes steady use of controlled movements that aren't rushed at any given time, editing provides its story a fine tuned pace & the use of music is minimal. Plus, this film also highlights the importance of casting the right actors for the right roles & what a big difference this one factor can make to its fortunes. And although the casting of supporting roles can be argued here but Alain Delon was born to play Jef Costello & that's simply indisputable.
With his cold eyes, calm composure, minimal conversations, unmatched screen presence & being aware of his surroundings at all times, Delon turns out to be the very embodiment of everything Jef Costello was suppose to be & delivers a performance he'll always be remembered for. On an overall scale, Le Samouraï is as smart, suave & impressive as the assassin it depicts and even though greater expectations may have slightly dented my first experience of this influential classic, the future revisits kind of assure that its rating scale can follow only one direction; and that's north.