Michael's Cinema Paradiso’s review published on Letterboxd:
Afterthoughts: Oh, Jean-Pierre Melville, to say that you've catered to all my neo-noir requirements in the most satisfying of ways, would be a major understatement! Slow, slick, and stylish, this film has made one hell of a first impression.
Right from the opening scene, Le Samouraï creates intrigue and mystery by utilising a character type we've come quite accustomed to (and fond of) over the years - the silent anti-hero; a lone wolf who makes his/her illegitimate living, exchanging dialogue as little as possible, and puts both c's in the phrase 'cool-cat'.
Jef Costello (played with beautiful subtly by Alain Delon [who I coincidentally was cinematically introduced to the other day when watching L'eclisse]) has instantly become one of my favourite characters. The fact he bears somewhat of a physical resemblance to Jared Leto and Zac Efron, only further elevates my excitement to explore more of his work (Rocco and His Brothers will be my next, then Le cercle rouge). A professional, a fashion icon, a total badass, Costello is one of the greatest noir protagonists of all time; a perfect example of a less-is-more character.
The sleek cinematography, with its limited colour palette, is a testament to the fact that vivid colour and stunning scenery doesn't necessarily define cinematographical beauty; and that there is great visual pleasure to be had from the juxtaposition of flesh tones with shades of black, white and grey, and also a grimy and less savoury mise en scéne.
There are countless aspects of this remarkably simple film I could go on praising, but I'll let you discover them for yourselves.
An instant favourite, It's certainly finding a place on my top 250. Where yet, I am unsure...