When it comes to crime films, it doesn't get any cooler than Le Samouraï (1967). Staring Alain Delon as Jef Costello, it is the story of a meticulous, chain smoking, fedora wearing hit man who is hired to kill a night club owner. Unfortunately, several witnesses see him and he is subsequently pursued by not only the police, but also by his employers.
Why I like this film:
1) It's French New Wave cinema at its very finest.
2) Alain Delon *ahem* was described by one film critic as "A beautiful destructive angel of the dark street". Quite.
3) It has a complicated plot that is full of subtle twists and intrigue.
4) There is a gripping chase sequence where Jef Costello is pursued through the streets and metro of Paris by the police. This extended scene is not only lovely to look at, but also incredibly well done.
5) Unlike a lot of crime films these days, the director Jean-Pierre Melville uses character not action to build the suspense.
6) Without wanting to give too much away, it doesn't have a happy ending. I think this makes it a much more well rounded and satisfying film.
Here is the trailer for Le Samouraï. It gives you a pretty good idea of the pace and feel of the film.
Perhaps it's a film to keep in mind next time you're wondering what to watch.