Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966)

JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

Alternate title:  Second Wind

France, 1966.  Les Productions Montaigne.  Adaptation by Jean-Pierre Melville, Dialogue by , Jean-Pierre Melville, based on the novel Un Reglement De Competes by Jose Giovanni.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Subpar Melville that does not show the director off as well as his best, or even his most passable: forget Le Samourai, this one doesn’t even match up to Le Doulos or Le Cercle Rouge. Its confusing and uninspiring plot follows European thug archetype as a gangster who escapes from jail, goes to Paris and almost immediately gets involved in a gangland killing. He needs to make a run for it, but has to take part in, what else, one last big heist in order to have the resources to do it, so he and his cohorts cook up a scheme to rob a truckload of platinum during delivery. There’s a mysterious blonde, a lot of close calls and plenty of setbacks before the heavy finger of morality is laid down upon our protagonists. The problem is that the narrative is convoluted rather than complicated, and the characters too threadbare to rise it up to the standards of the director’s best work.

The Criterion Collection:  #448

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