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.