Le doulos [1962]

22Feb12 – 7 – Le doulos (Jean-Pierre Melville: 1962)
Today’s Jean-Pierre Melville was LE DOULOS (1962), and even though I liked it a lot, a whole lot, I didn’t like it as much as I did the hour of LE SAMOURAÏ (of the same general criminals-doublecrossing-each-other-and-the-police genre) that I saw a couple of days ago. If I find fault with LE DOULOS it’s in its screenplay, which makes the characters verbalize their activities and motives much too explicitly, as though Melville didn’t trust the audience to get it from the action alone. (Question: were audiences that much more naïve about plot twists in the early 1960s than they are today?)

The performances are uniformly good with Serge Reggiani’s standing out as exceptionally fine. I absolutely adore the look of this film and I’d especially like to praise whoever did the opening title sequence (if it wasn’t Melville). If only it weren’t for the “you thought X happened because Y told Z about JJ, but what actually happened is I thought JJ knew about X…” dialogue. (BTW: there’s a great subtitled print on the ‘tubes.) 7/10. [2/22/12]



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