Le Samourai


Everyone has their own idea of cinematic ‘cool’: maybe you think Bogart in The Big Sleep can’t be beat, or that Brando’s Wild One is the ultimate, or that Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in the Alien franchise is tops. Hey, it’s all valid, but if your list doesn’t have Alain Delon in Jean-Pierre’s so-cool-it’s-glacial 1967 masterpiece Le Samourai, somewhere on it, well…your list is defective.

In a career-defining performance, Delon plays Jef Costello, a contract killer with samurai instincts. After carrying out a flawlessly planned hit, Jef finds himself caught between a persistent police investigator and a ruthless employer, and not even his armor of fedora and trench coat – or his seemingly bottomless well of unshakeable cool – can protect him. 

As elegantly stylized as it gets, Le Samouraï is a razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology. All of this is overseen by the great Melville, who made a heaping helping of other great films – Bob le FlambeurUn FlicLe Circle RougeArmy of Shadows – but Le Samouraï is the ultimate distillation of his style and sensibility.

Le Samouraï will be shown in its resplendent new 4K restoration, so, like most films in The Screening Room, it will look and sound great.