Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Oasis Learn more Listen with Prime Shop Men's Shop Women's
Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do You Think We'll Be Judged?, 23 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Pickpocket [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
So questions Martin Lasalle's Michel of Marika Green's Jeanne as he contemplates the potential spiritual consequences of his criminal obsession in Robert Bresson's masterly human study, made in 1959. This Dostoevsky-like tale of a man's compulsion to steal, driven by a mix of deluded Nietzschean thoughts of 'supermen' and a nihilistic approach to life, is a typically austere Bressonian drama - one in which, in fact, Bresson's favoured minimalist approach to acting actually benefits the sense of dead-pan realism required for the thieves' activities. However, as Michel's bleak, fatalistic tale unfolds, even this most resistant of 'automatons' (if you like) eventually succumbs to the humanity (and spirituality) imbuing Bresson's outwardly stark depiction.

As is this film-maker's wont, Bresson again casts first-time actors in the central roles and, for me at least, here they are pretty much unequivocally successful. Lasalle is hypnotic as the po-faced, waster ('not in the real world') Michel, whose immoral choice to subsist on his pickpocketing earnings is contrasted brilliantly by Green's depiction of 'guardian angel', the resolutely honest Jeanne, whose shy, nervous, averting glances eventually begin to seep into Michel's subconscious feelings of guilt (particularly following the death of his mother, over whom Jeanne has kept a vigil). Similarly, (other acting novices) Pierre Leymarie is good as Michel's other 'guiding hand', friend Jacques, whilst Jean Pélégri is particularly impressive as the kindly police inspector who gives Michel a degree of leeway. The film is also notable for featuring world-famous illusionist Kassagi, playing Michel's chief pickpocketing 'tutor', as well as providing general guidance to the film on the 'art'.

Of course, as well as creating an increasingly engaging aura of personal angst and conflict, Bresson's film is also an impressive technical achievement with cinematographer Léonce-Henry Burel's stark, but evocative, black-and-white photography brilliantly depicting the slick, often complex, pickpocketing scams (whether these be on the Paris Metro or at nearby racetracks). Burel's camera is also very effective at exacerbating the feeling of the 'net closing in' on Michel as it lingers on mysterious, shadowy figures loitering (potentially) with intent. Similarly, Jean-Baptiste Lully's sparse (but often lush orchestral) soundtrack adds to the increasing feeling of an inevitable hand of fate slowly approaching.

Although Michel's 'two year sabbatical' towards the end of the film is rather clumsily done, it sets up what is one of the most poignant and powerful endings in cinema, in which the thief finally achieves at least some degree of spiritual redemption. For me, Pickpocket, is certainly one of this most innovative film-maker's finest achievements.

In addition, the Artificial Eye DVD includes some excellent extras, including an amazing documentary tracking down Martin Lasalle, 40 years on, to his remote home in Mexico.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]