Must-See Movies: Le Samouraï (1967)

Le Samouraï (1967)

Jean-Pierre Melville‘s French-noir masterpiece is one of my personal favorite films and one I consider to be criminally underrated. Its influence on the modern-noir genre and, in particular, hit-man films is immense. Oft copied, no film since has been able to work brilliantly on so many levels. Every aspect of the film has been meticulously crafted by Melville; from the occasionally sparse use of dialogue, the engrossingly tense atmosphere, to the almost monochrome color scheme, all of which results in a truly unique cinematic experience.

Le Samouraï opens with a superbly filmed 10 minute, dialogue-free sequence which introduces professional hit-man Jef Costello (Alain Delon.) Residing in a barren apartment and never cracking a smile, Jef only lives for one thing, doing what he’s paid to do. Although Jef is an intrinsically unlikable character (murderer,) Delon’s performance exudes coolness, demanding your attention and reverence. His cold and calculating demeanor is in stark contrast to his eyes, brimming with intensity and sentiment. Read more of this post