Le Samouraï

Le Samouraï ★★★★½

This was a noir film I had been wanting to see for a very long time and I just kept completely putting it off over the years, with no good excuse as to why. And now, after seeing it, I'm ashamed I took so long to watch it. I was captivated from the very first shot. Gloom seeps through each frame as if you were watching a torrential downpour on a cold, cloudy autumn evening. Paris has never been portrayed so darkly. The eerie score was an excellent accent. It's a haunting, if you will, yet beautiful atmosphere that creates so much suspense. You know something bad is going to happen, but you're still on the edge of your seat wondering what it will be. The lighting brought tears to my eyes and the smooth jazz brought joy to my soul.

Jeff Costello is a fascinating character. He is a cold, detached killer with a stark, blank face that makes you feel like you're going to end up dead just by thinking about him in the wrong light. Completely expressionless. Piercing eyes. Yet it feels like there's an underlying sense of loneliness to him, much like Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver." But that's exactly the way the role needed to be played, and Alain Delon did it masterfully. The supporting cast was very good, as well.

A very great entry into the crime genre and exceptionally constructed, "Le Samourai" is a perfect example of well-crafted, thrilling storytelling, down to the very last detail. The follow-and-chase sequences were so well planned and executed, especially at the end, and Jean-Pierre Melville directed every scene impeccably. He is a craftsman. And it all comes to a sad yet understandably relieving ending. You are entranced from the very first minute you hear the annoying bird chirps. Hooray for the French New Wave and existentialism!

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