Saturday, June 11, 2011
LE DOULOS (1962) - Jean-Pierre Melville
When Jean Paul Belmondo points a gun at you in Le Doulos, you don't know if he's doing you a favor or doing you in. You don't know if he's already called the cops to finger you or someone else for the murder or robbery. You don't know if his gun is loaded or if it's his or yours. Belmondo's Silien is so slippery, you don't even realize he's the film's protagonist until midway through. You suspect it might be the guy who looks like an angry Mr. Bean (Serge Reggiani), but that's only because you saw him first.
Peeling back the layers upon layers of duplicity of Belmondo's poker-faced finger man and Melville's hard, raw onion of a crime classic is pure pleasure, even the second or third time around when you should already know all of its tricks. You look into Meville's grim double-sided mirror of a movie, tell yourself you won't get fooled again, but then it happens and you're glad that it did. What a fantastic movie.