This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
4 Star Films’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Starring Alain Delon as the title character and with direction by Jean-Pierre Melville, this film pulls from the French New Wave as well as Hollywood Noir and Crime films making something entirely distinct in its own right.
Jef Costello is Le Samourai, an expressionless and cold professional hit man who can be seen in his trench coat and hat with a cigarette. He executes a hit on a nightclub owner and he is seen leaving by the female piano player. His girlfriend gives him an alibi and the eyewitness accounts do not line up but the investigator still suspects Costello. The hit man is let off and goes to pick up his payment only to be shot instead. He gets away and fixes himself up only to return to the night club later. He returns to his room knowing something is up because the canary is agitated and he finds a bug. The police keep on his girlfriend as well but she will not retract her statement. Costello is confronted by his assailant from before only to be offered a new contract, but they struggle and Costello gets the name of the boss behind it all. Jef is on the move again and he says a goodbye to his girlfriend before going to Rey’s home to knock him off.
One last time he returns to the night club piano player and in view of everyone he walks up to her a pulls out a gun. With all eyes on him he explains his new target is her, but before he can do it, Le Samourai is gunned down. The police are relieved to have gotten there in time, but then they realize Jef never meant to kill her.
Delon plays such a delightfully deadly killer with a moral code. In a sense he is a tragic hero we ultimately respect because he lives a life full of solitude and honor as is the code of the samurai.