Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Le Samourai (The Samurai) 
Considered by many as a definitive exploration of cloak-and-dagger tales and a restrained existentialist probing into the life of a contract killer, Le Samourai, directed by one of the stalwarts of French Nouvelle Vague Movement (though not as universally recognized) – Jean-Pierre Melwille, the movie follows a professional hitman’s slow decline from glory thanks to a minor blemish in an otherwise efficient assassination job at a Parisian nightclub. The blemish (in this case a fatal mistake) of course is that he has mixed pleasure (read 'heart') with work. The lucid narration, the minimalist set-pieces, the languid pacing, the evocative camera work, the subtle stylization, the storytelling that is more lyrical than taut (in a masterful genre-bending move), and a memorable anti-climax filled with irony and detached emotion, made this quite an engaging watch despite the plot holes. The obvious intent here is, style over substance, though not in a pejorative sense. This acclaimed French post-noir has been referred to by John Woo as closest to the mythical “perfect movie”.
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Genre: Post-Noir/Crime Thriller/Existential Drama/Gangster Movie