The armor worn by Alain Delon in "Le Samourai" (★★★) is a trench coat, a fedora and an air of unflappable cool. Jean-Pierre Melville's taut crime saga is a study in sustained tension. The inscrutable Delon moves with precision and feline grace through 1967 Paris, whether he's stealing a car or stepping into a police lineup. As formidable hit man Jef Costello, he is the ultimate solitary man. He has a mistress and poker buddies, but they are merely in his life to provide alibis. His only permanent companion is his caged songbird, entrapped much as Jef is between the cops who want him for the murder of a nightclub owner, and the criminals who want him dead before he draws too much attention. But why won't the eyewitness who saw his face (gorgeous Caty Rosier) identify him to the police? Delon's inscrutable presence adds to an unnerving atmosphere of anticipation. You feel that something bad could come crashing into the frame at any second. And you would be right. Melville's moody, poetic thrillers still inspire contemporary filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino and John Woo. (In French, subtitled. 7 p.m. today, Alliance Française, 113 N. 1st St., Mpls. Admission and popcorn free. 612-332-0436.)