Jean-Pierre Melville’s tribute to the French Resistance - in which he himself was active - plays out like the gangster movies he’s best known for (Le Samourai, Le Cercle Rouge).
Like them, it’s a film about loyalty, honour, sacrifice, trust and betrayal - about states of mind more than dramatic action.
The mood’s doom-laden: the cast - Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse, Serge Reggiani - carry themselves like people resigned to facing death at every second.
Army was criticised on release for its supposed Gaullist sympathies. But now, with its dour pessimism and rejection of heroics, it stands as one of the director’s chilly final masterpieces.