Thursday, February 9, 2012

Le Samouraï (1967) dir. Jean-Pierre Melville

"Thomson wrote that this film is 'so tough that its impassive romanticism is not just fascinating, but nearly comic.' Some of the comic details are so quiet they could be missed. Consider the bird in Costello's drab hotel room. It is a gray, shabby bird (of course) with an unpleasant chirp. Why would this man have a bird? Is it even his? Did it come with the room? The bird's chirp provides an amusing payoff after the cops wire the room and set up a tape recorder that records only . . . chirps, for a while. Apart from the bird, the room contains the following personal possessions of Costello: His trench coat, his fedora, his pack of cigarettes, and a bottle of mineral water. At one point, he walks over to an armoire, and on top of it, I was delighted to see, were rows of water bottles and neatly arranged packs of cigarettes. You smile because such details are a very quiet wink from Melville, telling you he knows what he's up to." (Roger Ebert)

But is it boring? Yes.

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