Le Doulos (1962): “in this business you finish up a loser or dead”

Le Doulos (1962)

Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Doulos, titled The Finger Man (France 1962) for its USA release, is as dark a tale of vengeance as has ever hit the screen. Filmed in wide-screen black and white, it is visually stunning with long fluid interior and external shots.  There is a degree of  intrigue and tension as the body of the story is about deceiving the criminal protagonist and the audience.  The final shoot-out in a luxury villa outside Paris is the strongest sequence.

But for all that, the whole affair is coldly intellectual and at bottom a smug homily on the futility of revenge and a warning that all sinners are punished: live by the gun die by the gun.  Strictly art-house noir.

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