Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shoot the Piano Player

Monday, September 15, 2008

Clever boy I am, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone. I've got noir month going on, and I've been meaning to watch some Truffaut for my K2K, so here we go: Truffaut's oddball, French new wave tribute to the American crime films of the 40's and 50's.

Notable Talent: Well, like I said, Francois Truffaut, darling of the French new wave, director of such arthouse klassiks as The 400 Blows, Jules and Jim, Day For Night. I was not familiar with anyone in the cast.

Detective Story: No, but there is a bit of mystery to the plot. Ultimately, I would call this one a crime story, but with a distinctly Truffaut-ian spin on the material. Yeah, there's a classic noir/crime plot going on, but set in that kind of laid back French-movie world where people will also take time to sit back and have animated discussions on why women are magic to them.

Twisty, Turny Plot: Yeah, I'd say so. Beyond the sort of mystery in the plot, there is an extended flashback in the middle that complicated the structure of the film.

Moral Ambiguity: I don't recall it being too pronounced, but the hero is both kind of a dick and kind of likable, and maybe straddles the line between good guy and criminal.

Sweet-ass Shadowy Black and White Cinematography: Sort of the off the cuff, French new wave version of it, I guess.

Overall Quality: I'm not going into much detail here, and I'm sorry. I watched this one a week ago and haven't had a chance to blog because I've been out of town. My memory of it isn't too fresh. And the reason is... it was just an okay movie. Not bad, even kinda good, but probably my least favorite Truffaut film I've ever seen. It's a fairly interesting, sort of relaxed take on the crime drama that I actually think is hurt by some weird stylistic touches and broad comedy. It's a hodge podge of ideas, I'm sure it was exciting to make, but the result is a mixed bag.

Maybe not the most fun movie on the list, but still noticeably the work of a talented artist:

1) Act of Violence
2) Crime Wave
3) Night and the City
4) Shoot the Piano Player
5) Mystery Street
6) Decoy

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