Le Samouraï

Alain Delon in Le Samouraï (dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967).

Melville's icy fantasia on This Gun for Hire unfolds with the pristine hyperelegance of a classical ballet or an MGM musical, only quieter. John Boorman's Point Blank came out the same year, and there are some striking similarities in color palette and general composition of shots. Someone can probably tell me if one film was an influence on the other.

Simultaneously more sentimental and more unemotional than Melville's earlier Bob le flambeur, Le Samouraï is nevertheless an exhilarating piece of cinema. It's among the very best of that play-of-cool-postmodern-surfaces neonoir subgenre to which it helped give birth, and within which we are still seeing countless newer directors find material for giddy invention, as drunk on its conventions as though they had emerged for the first time last week.

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