Sunday, June 24, 2007

Le Samurai Jef Costello Stone Cold Killer

Jef Costello Straight Faced Perfectionist Killer

Le Samurai written and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville is a phenomenal film. When watching Jef Costello, played by Alian Delon, go about his life, it was a combination of perfectionist and killer. Watching Costello and his carefully planned murders on the big screen really captured me with how much of a stone emotionless killer he was. Melville shows us the life of a young man, who is deeply involved in French crime. However, he uses small clips to show that although Costello is a cold hearted killer, he also has a conscience. Melville uses the bird in Costello’s apartment to show that he can relate to something, even if it is just a small bird. Melville uses extreme angle shots, as well as a strong emphasis on sound to create a feeling of suspense between Costello and what he was doing. The sounds of the subway and cars and to the build up, which eventually get so load and so gripping that Melville must back off to bring the audience back to the plot. Costello is a perfect killer, which can be related to the title Le Samurai. Costello is well trained and prepared for anything, not much unlike a Samurai. But unfortunately in the end Costello’s life catches up to him and he is killed, which could be a direct relation to the fact that the art and act of being a Samurai has almost died out. This was the case back in 1967 when the film was created and is still the case now. A Samurai was considered the ultimate honor, and the ultimate soldier, now the elegance has been stripped to instead enforce strength and sheer power in military. The elegance and perfection no longer exists, which in many ways is the story of Costello’s life. He plans his murders carefully as to not to get caught, but in the end he ends up being killed. However, Melville does a fantastic job, by showing that even though Costello was a criminal, and was supposed to murder the pianist; he kept his honor and had no bullets in the gun. He was a Samurai from start to finish. Jef Costello was the ultimate contract killer, a perfectionist and honorable until his last breath. Melville put together one fantastic film!
-Duncan Kelm

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