12 Mar Le Samourai (1967)
Le Samourai (1967) by Pierre Melville, a French new wave masterpiece that serves as the blueprint for the quiet, baby-faced criminal used masterfully by such directors as Edgar Wright, Walter Hill, and Nicholas Winding Refn. Jef Costello (the characters name) wasn’t received by me in the same way those filmmakers received him. I saw each one of their interpretation of the character before I saw this film and feel they did it better. The character that I was most fascinated with was Le Commissaire. The lines were delivered as if he were one of those detectives out of ‘50s noir film. He had a no-nonsense attitude toward the untrustworthy female character(again, much like a noir detective). And the characters’ entire vibe was snake-like, snarky, and just an old fashion asshole detective. All around great performance.
Now I already mentioned a noir themes, but it doesn’t stop at character. The cinematography and camera movements has elements of noir as well. A couple of long take scenes that required a lot of patience and genius level execution to pull off stand out in this picture. The light (or lack there of) in the opening scene of the film is master level. We barely see what’s going on in the room, just the shine from the birdcage and smoke from our shadowed lead, if you can’t watch the movie at least peep that scene on YouTube or something. Last thing, metaphors. There’s a bird in a cage that sings in Jef Costello’s room, I think the filmmakers trying to tell us something there. Second metaphor is the simple, generic, set design. I believe it represents the plain, blandness of the lead. That’s my thoughts on Le Samourai. Worth watching, especially since its a piece where some of today’s greatest filmmakers find inspiration from.