50/50 Review #15: Le Samourai.

Le Samourai is like what would happen if you mixed Drive with Ghost Dog. Jef Costello (Alain Delon) is a quiet, precise hitman who apparently follows a samurai code of life. Unfortunately, one day a hit on a club owner goes a little wrong, and there are some witnesses. Jef is picked up by the police, but due to a rather solid alibi that he set up prior to the hit and most of the witnesses claiming--for some reason--that he's not the man they saw, they're forced to let him go. But a stubborn police officer refuses to believe he's innocent, and he constantly has to keep on his guard so not to make any wrong moves.

I was pleasantly surprised with this film. Of course, the Ghost Dog connections are insane (frenchmen, a quiet hitman who acts like a samurai and takes care of birds, and gangsters who hire and then turn on him? Don't forget special keys to help steal cars). But that's pretty much where the comparisons end, fortunately. They're all pretty superficial. The actual story and characters are much different. This film is much more of a mystery/thriller in that you're questioning why the gangsters want him dead and then how he's going to stay safe from the police. The story kept me pretty invested throughout, and the pacing and flow works well.

The character of Jef is also really interesting and entertaining. He's, again, similar to the Driver in Drive in that he's quiet, calm, and collected, but he can kick your ass and/or kill you without a second's hesitation. And he does have a specific style about him, too. He's fun to watch, because you're never quite sure what he's going to do next, and I was constantly trying to figure out what was going on in his head. The suspense was great, even if there was never a sense of any physical danger.

But I don't have much else to say outside that. Jef Costello is a fantastically cool character. I don't think there's a lot of depth to the film, but like with Drive, I'm not sure there has to be. The character and the style are enough to carry the film. Though it does have kind of a shocker ending that I didn't exactly see coming. If you're a fan of noir, or cool antiheroes, check it out. It might be a quiet little film (hell, no dialogue is actually spoken for the first 10 minutes), and it certainly isn't perfect, but it certainly kept me engaged.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. That'll about wrap it up for Dan Heaton's Month! It was certainly a classic kinda month. And despite some movies being out of my typical wheelhouse, I still enjoyed myself for one reason or another... comedy, dialogue, characters. But now it's time to do something pretty much the exact opposite. Next week... I'm starting Jason's Month. Need I say more?)

1 comment:

  1. Glad you dug this one. I like this one a lot more than Drive or Ghost Dog, although both of those films are super good.

    It's because I find Jef a much more compelling protagonist. The paradox of this shy boyishness and his cold killings is perfectly captured in Alain Delon's performance. Also, the cinematography is astounding.


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