Second Breath

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 10

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 793

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Movie Info

An escaped con becomes involved with a double-crossing gang planning to steal two tons of gold from an armored truck.

Cast & Crew

Lino Ventura
Gustave "Gu" Minda
Paul Meurisse
Commissaire Blot
Christine Fabréga
Simone
Paul Frankeur
Inspector Fardiano
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News & Interviews for Le Deuxième souffle (Second Breath)

Critic Reviews for Le Deuxième souffle (Second Breath)

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (10)

Audience Reviews for Le Deuxième souffle (Second Breath)

  • Aug 25, 2014
    <i>Le Deuxième Souffle</i> is one hell of an interesting transition in style and execution considering Melville's trajectory. On one hand, there's the film-noir influences on his career which resulted in a few of the most important neo-noir contributions in cinema history, directed by Melville himself. <i>Bob le Flambeur</i> (1956) carried this. Then there's the complex web of character interrelations and double-crossings reunited by a primary plot and reacting in secondary subplots, the latter hiding the characters' motivations, interests and intentions. Melville achieves this with true brilliance. Each character is an evil entity of unpredictable moral. An unusual group of characters with various shadowy (and disturbing) backgrounds interacting with a common criminal purpose would reach its height in <i>Le Cercle Rouge</i> (1970), but this web of interrelationships would find its pinnacle in a WWII setting, which everybody recalls as <i>Army of Shadows</i> (1969), a horror testament of despair, conspiracies and deceit. Then there's the violence which plays an important role in Melville's films, which would allow him to close the decade with style and contribute to the ferocity of the neo-noir environment while influencing tons of future different filmmakers in the process. This technical stunt is one I mirror too often with the decisions of some modern directors to invade the "silent" (more subtle) tone of the story with sudden outbursts of hard-hitting violence, like a statement spoken out loud and directly. Belmondo's interrogation scene with a woman in <i>Le Doulos</i> (1962) had censors reacting everywhere. Second to last, we have the slow-pacing and high attention to detail that Melville made in the screenplays and in the execution of the scenes, which would then iconically materialize into fully elaborated heist sequences which realism and overtly prolonged dedications are born straightly from Dassin's masterpiece <i>Rififi</i> (1955), a film that I will never cease to give credit to. This feature would then be reflected in <i>Le Cercle Rouge</i> (1970) and in the director's farewell, <i>Un Flic</i> (1972). Finally, there's the shadowy, existentialist tone of it all, and this is where the transition aspect comes in. The film still feels like a noir heir from certain themes to the visual composition and a handful of characters, but is also a subliminal introduction to the loneliness of Jef Costello in <i>Le Samouraï</i> (1969), also noticeable in the protagonists of the world turned upside down in <i>Army of Shadows</i> (1969). In this sense, <i>Le Deuxième Souffle</i> is the Melville film that not only helped him to make a step forward towards his evolved style that assaulted the senses with tremendous power, but also is the only film of his that has all of his famous elements put together, which is maybe why it is his longest film, as far as I'm concerned. It's his most methodical facet. That is quite an epic homework to balance, but after a noticeable effort, everything paid off, including one of the best endings of the decade in European cinema. 91/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 2009
    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.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2009
    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.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 02, 2009
    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.
    danny d Super Reviewer

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