It's a deeply cynical and pulverisingly bleak film, one which talks of a lack of ethical backbone present in postwar Europe rather than merely among its band of crooked players. It's robustly directed by Sautet, who wisely lets his actors do much of the heavy dramatic lifting.
I'd been incredibly touched by the film's tone from the very start. And how out of step it was with French crime movies. . . . The way Claude avoided all the genre clichés left me full of admiration.