A stylish little crime drama from Louis Malle. The only thing that really bugged me about it was the criminal competence of our four main characters. Being an incompetent criminal is something that I can buy into from at least three of them; but being an incompetent person is a completely different story, and there are some completely idiotic character decisions that happened seemingly to just move the plot forward.
Louis Malle, a valedictorian in French cinema in the late 50s who could never fully match the magical quality of his debut feature. One could have a field day picking at the film's lack of continuity, its inconsequential temporal shifts, its fragmented causality. Then you realise that it is indicative of an emerging New Wave school of thought inherent in the work of Truffaut, Godard, Becker and Melville. Marvellous.
I've heard the claim that jazz music wasn't synonymous with noir films until after this film came out, or films like M Squad with music by Count Basie in the following year. Is it true that the jazz failed to enter noir until the late 1950's? Anyone know? Either way - despite its flaws, this is a wonderful old flick by Louis Malle.