Watch Now: LE SAMOURAI
One of the most important and influential films of the sixties, Jean-Pierre Melville’s brilliantly atmospheric neo-noir crime film Le Samouraï still stands in high regard as a masterful exhibition of a filmmaker’s style, vision and execution. The story follows an efficient hitman played by Alain Delon, a pedantic professional completely dedicated to his work whose carefully constructed ascetic way of life is broken into pieces when a slight mistake makes him the target of both the police and his former employers. A game of cat(s) and mouse ensues on the streets of Paris, as “the samurai” puts his years of experience into dodging death while singlehandedly trying to get to the bottom of his grave situation.
As an admirer of Hollywood crime films of the 1930s, Jean-Pierre Melville made use of some common, familiar plot elements and spliced them together in high style to form a visually stunning work of art in which expositionary dialogue and flashy action are mostly discarded to make way for slow-burning tension and elegant visual storytelling. Le Samouraï’s aesthetics, direction and character presentation still serve as an inspiration for filmmakers, from Hill’s The Driver to Winding Refn’sDrive among many others, cementing its legacy and proving once again that less indeed is more when put in the hands of the right people.