Written by: Robert Bresson
Directed by: Robert Bresson
Starring: Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri
My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous TV reviews!
After his mother dies, Michel resorts to pick pocketing to survive.
It's a simple story, but engrossing. Michel is a pickpocket, but discontent. It's only after he loses everything that he determines his priorities.
The slower pace leaves ample room to speculate about the character. While most movies give you all the information you could want, this lets you fill in the blanks in whichever way you see fit.
This movie isn't for everyone. It's a slow pace and there isn't a lot of out and out action. It's more like a poem. Our experiences play a large part in the interpretation.
Michel is a good guy doing bad things. He can't find a job. While that doesn't excuse his actions, he needs money and resorts to the only thing he thinks he's good at, pickpocketing. Michel's attitude is entitled. He thinks the general population should reward him with money. They do, albeit against their will.
He works his way into a group of pickpockets and they steal from people in broad daylight with choreographed hand offs. The pickpocket scenes are slick. While I've seen many movies do it, for this movie to feel as slick as it does as old as it is, that's impressive.
While the plot feels a bit dated, the directing provides time to speculate about Michel's thoughts. Why doesn't he want to see his sick mother? We don't know if something happened between them, but Michel seems to prefer being alone. You get the feeling Jeanne likes him, but he's either oblivious or disinterested.
Michel leaves France, fearing the police are closing in. He travels around the world but isn't content. He returns to Paris and meets Jeaane again. He attempts legitimate work to support her, but returns to theft. This times he's not so fortunate and is arrested. Michel tried to leave pickpocketing behind, but it became his identity, a compulsion.
Jeanne visits him in jail, and it's at that point he realizes that he's in love with her. It's a bittersweet irony, but he couldn't see it until all distractions were removed.