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Le Deuxième souffle (Second Breath)

Le Deuxième souffle (Second Breath) (1966)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 719

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Movie Info

Veteran gangster Gustave (Lino Ventura) escapes from prison to find his sister is being blackmailed by some petty thugs in this crime thriller. He plans one last caper to steal enough money in hopes of retiring to a tropical paradise. He and his gang are sought by a detective (Paul Meurisse), the cop who plays by the book and avoids the sadistic torture practiced by his less-honorable cohorts. Soon Gustave is caught between the police and the double-crossing gangsters and discovers too late that

Oct 7, 2008

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All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (0) | DVD (4)

A labyrinthine exploration of loyalties and betrayals in the French underworld.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It isn't an easy film to watch, perhaps because it moves so deliberately in comparison to its American models, but this somber, repressive, and perverse work displays a ferocious moral and formal integrity.

September 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

superbly restrained

November 18, 2008 Full Review Source:

Le Deuxieme Souffle is at heart a romantic fantasy of underworld loyalty and lives of calculated risk and violence anchored by brilliantly staged and shot set pieces...

November 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

Characteristic of Melville's crime canon, the film's rigorously mannered aesthetic creates a decidedly artificial environment, and yet that environment is so meticulously, thoroughly realized that it's breathtakingly immersive.

October 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The product of a director in complete control of his talents, Second Breath musters enough depth that by its conclusion it feels only nominally like a heist film.

January 9, 2008 Full Review Source:

It's a long film which stretches its premise over 150 minutes, but a rewarding experinece nonetheless.

September 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

It is a violent film shot with calm detachment.

September 15, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Le Deuxième souffle (Second Breath)

this is definitely one of those hiest films that needs to be seen more than once. the film bears the usual complexity of a melville creation, but with sometimes the lack of clarity of the few films he made that rank slightly higher than this one. the only downside to the film is the early overuse of the macguffin tactic, but overall the final 90 minutes of the film come together impressively to create the brilliance of a film i know i will rewatch many times. the hiest sequence was among the best in film history, and with some slight choice differences early on this film could have flirted with masterpiece status.
April 2, 2009
danny d

Super Reviewer

this is just the kind of stuff i love. melville's earlier films are more gritty and realistic than the highly stylized stuff he made later and this was made one year before le samourai. and it may be the best melville i've seen yet. i know a 2 1/2 hour long heist film doesn't do it for everyone but this is outstanding and criminally underseen judging by flixster ratings. one of the few french films to really rival the classic american films in this genre
March 24, 2009
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Well worth seeing, but overlong. And the directing style is so dry and flat -- scarcely even any score to enliven the action -- that it further aggravates the viewer's impatience. I prefer a few other Melville films (Le Doulos, Le Samourai, Le Cercle Rouge) over this one.
March 22, 2011
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

In "Le Deuxieme Souffle," Inspector Blot(Paul Meurisse) is in disbelief that nobody claims to have seen anything at a shooting at a Paris restaurant that left one dead. Truth be told, they did and they also know that it involved a conflict centered around the cigarette racket. Afterwards, Manouche(Christine Fabrega) is escorted home by her bodyguard Alban(Michel Constantin) but they are ambushed by a couple of thugs, seeking to cash in. Things might have turned out worse had her brother Gu(Lino Ventura) not chosen that moment to return to Paris after having escaped from prison. Manouche wants to hide him but he wants to leave the country instead and needs money to do so.

"Le Deuxieme Souffle" is a stylish and moody crime drama that starts with an astouding and wordless opening five minutes. After that the movie slows down and does suffer from a couple of contrivances concerning Gu's movements.(It's always possible that he heard rumors around prison concerning the attack on the restaurant and the platinum robbery and chose that moment to escape but it is not very likely.) This is still a complex movie set in an underworld where life is cheap and honor is the only true thing of value. What is important is who you can trust in such circumstances.
July 25, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Second Breath (DE)
  • Second Breath (UK)
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