Le Samouraï ★★★★

Alain Delon mastered the art of subtle coolness on screen with Le Samouraï. There is a certain stillness and control he brings to this which is rarely seen among leading men. The character he plays is not exactly the life of the party (by design) but his ability to command the viewer's attention by doing very little is very impressive. It may sound like a weird note, but he moves really well in this, and brings a certain sophisticated charm and control to a number of the more dynamic chase scenes. If there was ever going to be a choice for a French Bond, Delon would have been high up on that list. He really wears the shit out of a good suit as well. Really cool.

In regards to the narrative of Le Samouraï, it wasn't mind blowingly pioneering, and there weren't many bells and whistles, but I honestly thought that suited the film well. Essentially Le Samouraï does exactly what it says on the tin: it's an entertaining and well made piece of neo-noir with a story that is executed very well and carried seamlessly throughout. There are a few nice gestures here and there that evoke a bit more intrigue beyond face value, and I liked the ambiguous ending, but apart from that it's just a film you can sit down and easily enjoy without needing to put too much thought into it. For the most part, the story unfolds nicely over the runtime of the film and improves as it layers and adds detail over time. I did think some plot points were skirted over a bit nearer to the end, and some conclusions did seem a bit too convenient at times, but I was willing to put that aside because this film never dragged or felt over drawn out, and I think I would rather that honestly. Sometimes a classic uncomplicated detective thriller really does the trick, and this is a great example.

Considering how dialogue-light the majority of this film is, the visual storytelling throughout really shines through. Melville wasn't afraid to pair the stillness of Costello with certain moments that allow this film to breathe and take a moment to establish a scene. I really liked that, and found it was done in such a way that it never effected the pace of the overall film; quite the opposite actually, this film flew by for me because the narrative was so tight.

Although I feel like they weren't all explored as much as I would have liked, I did think there was a good small roster of characters in this. My favourite was the Police Chief played by François Périer, who I considered to be the main character of this film in many respects, (if not a close second) considering his motivations and the means he went about to achieve his aims were conflicting and interesting. This isn't really the type of film you watch to see in depth character studies though. Aside from that there were some good performances in this that got the job done well.

Really liked Costello's theme. Great piece of movie soundtrack.

Without spoiling the ending, there's a drumroll right at the very end of this film that I found genuinely very funny. A great bit of unexpected realistic irony in an otherwise serious situation. Perfect.

P.S- There's also a subway chase in this which automatically makes me like a film 10 times more.