Lino is at the top of his game here. A taut crime thriller by Sautet that should be mentioned in the same vein as Melville, who used Lino to such great effect in 'Army of Shadows'. Belmondo is also quite good, and would go on to great fame in 'Breathless' and 'Pierrot le Fou'. It's ultimately about honor among thieves.
This is basically a character study which is a specialty of Sautet. The more I see of his work, the more I think he was a master, especially in his direction of actors. I'll bet Lino Ventura has never come through so dimensionally as he does here. Sautet also has a gracefully low-key style that is very realistic and fresh. Renoir's influence (along with the Italian neo-realists) is clearly present.