Re-purposes the vignette structure to marvellous impact, the missions a standalone threat to survival, further missions unimaginable - a structure I disliked in The Big Red One. Use of space and especially sound are haunting, the score used so sparingly that the wind, rain, ticking become oppressive. Mainly its brutality is vital to circumstance, the emergence of a cruel code seemingly necessary for self worth.
This film felt a bit outdated (watched it in 2017) but it gives a great insight into the work of the resistants during the second world war and the way they proceeded sometimes heartlessly. Lino Ventura, as the main character is truly charismatic and Simone Signoret plays a female resistant fully dedicated to the cause. Not sure I would share this complete devotion to the boss but a very good film about this era.
It is at first hard to understand why, released in the radical 60s, this was seen as a glorification of the Resistance. On the contrary, it shows them as ruthlessly pragmatic, detached, unable to trust even each other, each locked in their own world of voice-over because there's no one else to confide in. It is a masterpiece, a film that gives the cinematic cool of Le Samourai a political heft that leaves you broken.
Cold. Dark. Dreary. Minimalistic. Unsympathic characters. Overlong. I could live with all that but what really puts it down is the very poor & low level of conversations & dialogues. Since obviously the concept is not to be a thriller or an action movie but rather a chamber play, it does not meet the minimum requirement as such. It quickly gets boring. Disappointing.
It think that it would be most apt to assert that rather than ARMY OF SHADOWS repurposing the crime movie template to suit the milieu of the Resistance, it is in fact his complicated nostalgia for his time in the Resistance that has already repeatedly informed the melancholy cool of those very crime films. These are movies about covert activities, fraught fraternity, and betrayal - both romantic and fatalistic.
This one is on a list of my favorite movies of all time. It brings prolific portrait of unanimous leaders of French Resistant movement in the occupied France. Secret meetings and subversive activities interfere with violence and psychological terror in a gloomy, almost magic like atmosphere here. It's all or nothing. Jean-Pierre Melville at his best.
This film sheds an interesting light on the French resistance, displayed in a great, typical Melville style. Slow pacing with zooms that fulfill a narrative purpose, aesthetic wide shots and intense emotional situations veracious enough to speak for themselves. Something about the whole is slightly sloppy and there are some moments that ring less truthworthy, but it's a good film for sure.
‘Army of Shadows’, Melville’s masterpiece that went unseen in the U.S. until 2006, is a foreboding feature of the French resistance against Nazi Germany. The men and women depicted in the film are largely based off of actual members of the resistance, portrayed by an extremely talented cast, including Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret. Both deliver austere performances as power players in the ultimate liberation...↓
From the opening minutes you know straight away you'll get the grandeur of Melville at his best. The attention to detail in the mise-en-scene, staging, lighting and camera action is insane. What Melville proved in Army of Shadows, is that he can add substance and tension to his work. Gripping from start to finish.