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Criterion Collection: Le Samourai [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Things suddenly go badly for a successful French assassin.
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Note: There may be other editions from other regions floating about now and in the future - this review is for the Korean edition puchased on Amazon June 2013.
As Jef Costello, Delon carries out his deed in a jazz nightclub, but there are witnesses. He is subsequently picked up by the police and everything links him to the murder, except none of those called to bear witness do so and a false alibi from the lovely femme fatale, Jane, who it seems was played by Delon's wife, as her character is accredited to Nathalie Delon and according to IMDb have had a son, Anthony.
As we subtly learn, the witnesses in the Club are all in on the crime but of course, an assassin that might expose those who commissioned it, by being no. 1 suspect, are susceptible to a taste of their own medicine, shall we say? I'll leave the plot there, as it's enough for one to imagine the storylines linking them without giving anything away.
But, it's the cool complexity and smoothness of the direction, that's a textbook study of the routine police-work, which becomes riveting, in itself. Every frame counts, the angles, the backgrounds - not so much that it gets all too much or is flashy and never upstages the coolest hit-man since Humphrey Bogart. With the looks that even Paul Newman might envy, Delon eschews a steely fragility, he doesn't show it, but we sense it's there, at times. That's the quality of the acting for you.
The music, in particular, has that haunting, 'man alone' sort of theme, by Francois de Roubaix. Very Gallic, very French - the music makes you more intent and fits perfectly.
Now, to the Korean DVD.Read more ›
The other major feature of Melville’s tale, which is a key element in how Le Samurai creates its pervading sense of slow-build tension, is the film-maker’s forensic approach to criminal detection (in this respect calling to my mind Fritz Lang’s M). As Jef, following his initial 'hit’, finds himself being pursued both by François Périer’s calm, world-weary, ironic cop, and his anonymous employers, Melville deconstructs the detective’s 'art’, whether it be the extended (and brilliant) identity line-up scene, the meticulous installation of surveillance equipment in the assassin’s flat (shades of The Conversation here) or the equally impressive 'Metro tracking’ sequence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Masters of Movies and Cinema : MEGASTAR ALAiN DELON with his unique and outstanding acting , together with FRANCOiS PERiER and the director JEAN - PiERRE MELViLLE created this... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gentille Adrian Buzatu
love melville and this is a classic often copied rarely equaledPublished 2 months ago by D. H. Studdert
This is a Korean version and has English and Korean subtitle only. Make sure.Published 4 months ago by Hee Chul Kwon
quite simply one of the best films ever made.highly recommendedPublished 5 months ago by dylan swain
Consistently fascinating visually with all sorts of subtle ironies. Beautifully played. Laconic dialogue. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mario
The DVD is generally fine. However, the subtitles don't seem to be accessible on the extras (interviews with Melville and Delon). Also the DVD took a long time to arrive.Published 8 months ago by John Raisbeck
Pure brilliance from the first scene on and Delon is beyond words.Published 12 months ago by Erebor