Alain Delon did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Gauche in Red Sun.
The film is notable already through its pairing of Charles Bronson and Toshiro Mifune. The film ups the ante all the more by throwing in Alain Delon as the main antagonist for the film. Delon plays Gauche who begins as Link's partner in crime, and thankfully it is not long for us to see these three onscreen definitions of cool interact with one another. The three are perfectly in tune in that each take a different approach in portraying their characters so there's no override. Mifune takes an intense stoic determination, Bronson takes a sardonic approach, while Delon goes for being a personification of one word, smooth. Now all three are very physical actors, in that they can say a whole lot without speaking. This was already for Delon when he played a modern gunslinger of sorts in his most famous role. What's fascinating in potentially a similair role, Delon manages a unique approach even in this quality. Where Delon portrayed his movements in that role as very exact, almost ritualistic, Delon here instead does something that seems far more relaxed. Delon finds this innate confidence in the character of Gauche from the first scene we see him, because of how at ease Delon is in the frame. There is never a question that Gauche is in danger in the opening robbery, as Delon shows a man in his element. The most remarkable part of this is that, even as the villain, Delon earn this overconfidence.
In the robbery Gauche sets himself up as the chief villain by taking two actions. The first by killing Kuroda's friend in order to steal a gold encrusted samurai sword the second by trying to literally blow up his partner in crime Link in order to steal the bounty from the robbery for himself. What I love about Delon's approach here is in the moment where he kills Kuroda friend is that he does not play it as pleasurable for Gauche, nor is it an exact psychotic detachment. Delon instead keeps with the calm cool of the character as Delon shows that Gauche kills since they happen to be in his way in some way. Delon though creates the right sense of danger in this by portraying not even a second thought in the character, creating an effective sense of a selfish view that best defines the man. Delon is excellent by being just so despicable, yet doing it in such cool way somehow, that he leaves the right impression. This impression being pivotal to the film since Gauche only infrequently appears after this point, but remains as the objective for our two leads for the rest of the film. Delon is often missing but never forgotten as he does not waste an instance of his screen time in the first act.
The film proceeds with a very enjoyable road trip between Bronson and Mifune to try to find Gauche. Delon occasionally appears though only in brief cutaways in order for the film to remind us of what a badass he is, which Delon delivers with every time, it must be said. Eventually though Kuroda and Link come across him, Delon's entrance in the final act is pretty amazing thanks to again that ridiculous confidence that Delon projects so well, which only is multiplied by Gauche's casual twirling of his pocket watch. Another party though interrupts the three's showdown, leaving the three to team up against a common foe. Delon's performance makes this action particularly convincing since the self-absorption was always at the center of the character, which would of course include self-preservation. Delon's little asides to his two opponents throughout the scene are great since there is such a lack of concern in his expression. Once again this should not work, yet Delon realizes Gauche's personality so well that this in the end should be his only reaction. This is terrific villainous turn from Delon as he earns his place as a worthy opponent for Bronson and Mifune, which is already quite an achievement, and crafts a memorable villain out of a role that in the wrong hands, considering the character is rather thin as written, would have been forgettable.