Jeanne Moreau, her dizzying beauty, walking around Paris at the sound of Miles Davis... forget that for a moment and pay particular attention to the last five minutes. It is Barthes' Camera Lucida in a nutshell! A singular instant registered has disappeared forever, which at the same time will remain forever and return endlessly... "The photograph of the missing being will touch me like the delayed beams of a star".
Among the most essential film noirs ever made. It is a required mood piece and the crazed couple on a road trip feels like a precursor to "Natural Born Killers". The only thing that this movie really should have used more is Jeanne Moreau. Louis Malle's direction is flawless and I like that the characters do simple mistakes as most criminals are dumb - that's why they get caught.
I enjoyed watching this impressionistic film noir unfold before me. Murder, love, melancholia, war, corruption, theft, youth, tragedy, flair, mood, modernity, this film has a lot going for it. Trapped. The characters are trapped...physically, emotionally, psychologically. Trapped by their desires, by love, by envy, by nostalgia. Whatever is going on in their minds is put on screen
Now here's a weird beast. I only knew it because of the Miles Davis historic score but while very stilted and a somewhat bad pacing, the film more then makes it up with its quirks and twists that leaves us in the middle of the road between a noir film about lovers torn apart by the fallout of war and a nouvelle vague dramedy about deranged teenagers. And when you combine these two aspects, weirdly enough, it works.
A stylish little crime drama from Louis Malle. The only thing that really bugged me about it was the criminal competence of our four main characters. Being an incompetent criminal is something that I can buy into from at least three of them; but being an incompetent person is a completely different story, and there are some completely idiotic character decisions that happened seemingly to just move the plot forward.
The 400 Blows and Breathless are often cited as first/best of the French New Wave, but we shouldn’t forget that Malles’ Noirish masterpiece came before them. A crime story at first glance, doused in originality, sensuality and French-legend Jeanne Moreau.