A stone-faced Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as enigmatic gangster Silien, who may or may not be responsible for squealing on Faugel, just released from the slammer and already involved in what should have been a simple heist. Le doulos is one of the filmmaker’s most gripping crime dramas.
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Looks and feels as if it was made in 1948, not 1962. Melville and DP Nicholas Hayer do an outstanding job of capture a true noir look and feel. That opening scene, with the single, swinging overhead light is awesome.
C'est magnifique! Melville strikes again with a classic trench coat & trilby noir. Le Doulos is much more welcoming & talkative than Melville's usual style, but is no less effective. The crime caper unravels with deliberate plot holes & ambiguity that builds to a revealing finale. The ultra cool Belmondo is only matched by the tracking wizardry of the camerawork-notably the dizzying unbroken interrogation scene.
Tough but upright French men with big American cars, deceitful femme fatales and righteous murderers. This is the ultimate film noir (and alpha male fantasy), indeed so ultimate that it borders on parody. Yet it’s done with style and earnest and - most important - with a sense of tragedy that keeps it balanced.
I thought this was a masterpiece. The more Melville I watch the more I fall in love with him. I don't know if this assumption is correct but it felt like this movie was a big influence on the Coens' Miller's Crossing. Melville's cinematic world is so infectious and cool. It's as if his movies haven't aged a day.
This is the type of hard-boiled crime film that is being aped today. Melville's narrative genius is unsurpassed as well as his innovative use of homage toward his favorite filmmakers. Borrowing elements of American Crime Film style, Melville fully transforms the genre into his own. A masterwork of crime cinema.
Melville has a narrative mastery in this film, nothing is predictable, the plot and develops his characters in a way that you end up being deceived and surprised by the last minute, in short, always deceiving appearances in Le Doulos. The noir aesthetic makes clear its thoroughness and accuracy as a director.