Le Samouraï (1967)
A technical masterpiece, but...
25 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Le Samourai is definetely a very interesting film to talk about. Alain Delon plays Jef Costello, a killer who becomes a suspect after killing someone he doesn't know and his boss wants to get rid of him because he thinks he might be a threat due to the police. The visual storytelling in this film is remarkable, there are several scenes in this film where there is no dialogue for a few minutes and the viewer still perfectly understands what is going on. The opening scene in particular stands out in that regard. The music is great and the acting is pretty solid too. The camerawork is also fantastic and the cinematography is mostly good aswell (although the interiors are definetely way too dark at times). So, what's so "not great" about this film?

I don't find the story compelling or gripping at all. A lot of scenes are unnecessarily drawn out and serve very little purpose. There's a scene where 2 policemen install a bugging device in Jef's bedroom and for some reason, this scene feels like it's 15 minutes long. What makes things worse it that Jef finds the bugging device right away, which means the previous scene, while it was still beautifully shot and made, served no purpose, since it doesn't change the outcome of anything. There's also a scene where the police officer (forgot his name) goes to Ms. Lagrange's home and asks her if she still says that Jef was at her house in the night of the murder. She replies "Yes" and the officer leaves her house. What was this scene for? Everyone knows as much as they knew before. The officer even says that he doesn't quite believe her and that he will talk with her again, but he never does that in the film, which also creates a loose end in that regard. There's also Michel Boisrond's character, who supposedly "saw" Jef while arriving at Ms. Lagrange's house and then he is asked to identify him in a group of several men. He is able to identify him, but how is he able to do that? The film made me believe that he didn't know Jef at all and if he did the film should have said that. There's another weird scene: After the police officer lets Jef leave the police station, Jef goes to the Jazz Club where he murdered that guy. Now WHY would anybody go back to the place where he killed someone? Isn't he in danger of being spotted or recognized by someone in the club? So many scenes in this film have very little credibility to me and I don't find the characters interesting at all either.

So, while Melville is technically definetely a great director, I don't quite know his skills at creating good stories (because I haven't seen any of his other films) but I still have very mixed feelings about Le Samourai.
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