L'Armée des Ombres
1969 / 145m - France
Drama, War
Army of Shadows poster


March 20, 2021


Melville's famed war drama. Though I've never actively liked one of Melville's films, I do respect his take on cinema. He clearly cares for atmosphere and even though the narrative always has a clear place in his films, it's never just about telling a story. I just wish I could appreciate his stylistic choices more.

Army of Shadows is a film about the French resistance during WWII. Not a simple good guy vs bad guy adventure-type story, but a rather sullen take that documents the internal distrust and harsh realities of keeping the organization out of sight. Don't expect it to be very action-packed either, Melville keeps things subtle and small.

The nicest scenes are when Melville takes a little break from the plot. Sights of a city, set to moody music, characters staring. It's not unlike some of my favorite Oshii moments. Didn't care much for the cinematography though, the soundtrack was a bit too classic the performances weren't great either and the runtime is problematic. Not a great film, but Melville does show moments of greatness.