Le Doulos

1962

Le Doulos

Critics Consensus

Striking cinematography and strong performances make Le Doulos a uniquely cool -- and thoroughly satisfying -- neo-noir.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 28

91%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,627
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Movie Info

Confusion and wrong assumptions are the cause of tragedy in this stylish gangster noir by director Jean-Pierre Melville. Maurice (Serge Reggiani) and Silien (Jean-Paul Belmondo) are friends going way back, and both have had a shady past. Silien wants to leave his illegal activities behind him -- but would he actually be in league with the police, as an informer? That is what Maurice suspects after he kills a fence who is responsible for the murder of one of his friends and then takes some jewels as an extra bonus. Doubts assail Maurice as well as others until it is finally decided that something has to be done about Silien.

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Critic Reviews for Le Doulos

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Le Doulos

  • Oct 30, 2011
    An excellent Film Noir of the Gangster persuasion from France by Jean-Pierre Melville. An incredibly layered and complex crime story, where nothing is as it seems and no one is to be trusted. You don't even really know who you should be rooting for throughout the movie, though you might think you do. This was the first film of Melville's that I have seen and I will look forward to seeing more in the future. The influence that Melville had on French cinema in particular and crime films at large is clearly apparent here. Almost 50 years old and most current film makers still can't come close to the complexity and suspense on display here. A must see!
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2011
    Melville playing with an intricate plot, plot twists, Belmondo's physiognomy, the two sides of the coin in every man's personality, and Fabbiene's body. Greatly constructed noir, satisfying in every aspect. 99/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2011
    8.3/10 Jean-Pierre Melville is yet another filmmaker whose work I am just not discovering. He is a French filmmaker, but you probably already knew that by his name. You might also know that many of cinema's great masters came from France. Coincidence? I think not. Perhaps it is the stylistics of a French film that appeals to so many, me included. I love the works of Jacques Tati, to site one, and so many others. The music works...the visual presentation is usually appealing in its own way. I suppose that Melville, this fascinating new discovery of mine, has his own style and even his own legacy. Some consider him a master, and in time, I might feel the same about this man. "Le Doulos", one of his most acclaimed and universally popular films, is a very deep, very clever, and very entertaining French noir. It tells its story in a believable and somewhat even simplistic way, yet it still leaves a lot to be desired in future thinking sessions. One could analyze the film as a great artistic achievement, because with all due respect, that is what it is. I don't think it's a perfect film, and from what I've heard, I'm not alone in saying that, but it's wonderful nonetheless, and I'd certainly revisit it just to get that good ol' feeling of sheer entertainment and storytelling combined. The premise is simple: a burglar named Maurice (Serge Reggiani) is released from prison, and the first thing he does is make a trip to a friend's house, only to shoot the poor fellow dead, and steal his treasures and jewels (presumably from a previous heist of some sort). After this, Maurice is left thirst for more, more, and more money and riches. He then visits an old friend, Silien (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and shares his plans for the future. He tells Silien of a heist on an old, rich man's estate; which he intends to carry out soon. The trouble here is that Silien is, supposedly, an informant for the police. Maurice could have easily just given him information that could put his life in jeopardy, and land his ass back in jail. He doesn't know it yet, but he will become aware of it soon enough. And when he does, one question remains to be answered: who to trust? Maurice fears that Silien has ratted him out to his friend's that are the police. A lot of it is paranoia, but then again, maybe not. I'll stop there; I shouldn't spoil too much of the film. Good or not, a film should be seen in order for one to fully understand it in terms of its story. I can tell you as much as I can about my opinion, but this is such a good movie, that I wouldn't dare give out too much, in terms of spoilers. I guess one thing that I liked a lot about the film, aside from how it told its brilliant story of deception and manipulation, was the fact that these themes revolved around men in particular. Women have these troubles too; but in "Le Doulos", the women exist as complications to each problem. They could be keeping secrets from certain characters; and information that each one, respectively, needs. The film doesn't have a hero and it doesn't have a villain. You could call each of the two leads anti-heroes, and you might be right; one is greedy, one just wants to do the right thing. But is a lie a crime? The film asks this question among others, and it remains to be answered (in a strict sense). But some questions are not meant to be answered. I liked "Le Doulos" because it left me thinking; no, it HAD me thinking. It had be consistently hooked and interested in its plot, its characters, and the techniques that Melville used to craft the film. I don't watch too many noire films, which may be a cinematic sin; I must watch more. This is not an introduction, I have seen others from the genre, but alas, not enough. This film is recommended if you know what to expect out of most 60's-style noire films, and if you like a good thriller tale, tightly woven and told with depth and detail, but little empathy for its characters, then you might find the film slightly fascinating. It can be slow at times, but I've come to expect that out of films not from my time; but time does not matter. "Le Doulos" has successfully defeated such a great enemy as that.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2009
    Couldnt stand to watch it all
    Brody M Super Reviewer

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