Having looked at a wide range of reviews on here, I'm shocked to find that no one mentions the sheer deliciousness of the sound of everyone's footsteps in this movie as their shoes connect with the Parisian pavements. That alone is three stars. One star for the gorgeous photography and framing, moral questions it raises etc. But see it mostly just for the audio of everyone walking around.
After making a jailbreak film - which is a genre in and of itself - Bresson goes ahead and makes some sort of minimalist film noir in the streets of Paris. But Bresson is not interest in the violence or the spectacle; Pickpocket is pure crime theory. It is a true "action" movie, the "action" being those nimble hands that take detach themselves from the characters and their morals. The prototypical New Wave film.
When mainstream directors do what Bresson does here, they're mediocre. When the former does it,its art. I'm referring to the poorly written story; the cardboard cutout characters, who have no complexity, real connections or emotions - how can we care about what happens to them?; the stilted dialogues & amauterish-looking acting. Sure, that's Bresson's way of directing actors. I don't like it. (continues)
3-4. Restrained and clear with mostly minimal physical circumstances, but a comparatively complex meaning. I think it's a much more balanced movie than Au Hazard Balthazar, answering the concept of the 'superman' with austere spirituality and turning the contrast into internal conflict for the main character. I can see why it is so loved as a film.
I'm feel a little guilty that I'm not loving Bresson. I'm a cinephile, aren't I supposed to worship him as one of the demigods of motion pictures? I just have a hard time connecting. Maybe it's the anti-acting (which I understand the point of), but something isn't clicking. Like Au Hasard Balthazar, I'm just not very moved.
Not very enthusiastic about watching the film, towards the middle I was completely enamoured with it. Bresson makes everything, even/especially thievery, appear so gentle, gracious and emotional, that pickpocketing, an absolute mastery of hands, so well captured in the film, becomes equivalent to piano playing. And the film ends with a mesmerizingly beautiful scene that encompasses purity and romance at its best.