What the Critics Say About ARMY OF SHADOWS
2006 Time Out New York / Issue 552: April 27–May
|One of filmgoing’s most thrilling adventures, the collected tough-guy cinema of France’s Jean-Pierre Melville could make a cultist out of just about anybody. Imagine the cool gunmetal palette of a Michael Mann bruiser, swaddled in the voluptuous music, mood and political complexity of a Bertolucci film, and peopled with contemplative gangsters straight out of high-period John Woo, and you’re only scratching the surface.||
PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE Ventura, left,
and Crouchet plan in the shadows..
Based on the essential French
Resistance novel by Joseph Kessel (also the
writer of Belle de Jour), Melville’s
epic Army of Shadows easily stands with
his better-known works like Le Samouraï;
never before released in the U.S., it’s
the revival of the season—a stunning
lost masterpiece. Anchored by Lino Ventura’s
magnetically reserved and dignified performance
as an underground operative, the movie plays
like a magnificent series of stealthy set pieces:
daring escapes from Gestapo detention centers,
nighttime parachute leaps out of planes, even
a private submarine cruise.
Jean-Pierre Melville. 1969. N/R. 145 mins.