#329 Pickpocket

(1959, Robert Bresson)

“Perhaps everything has a reason”

So, uh, I have a slight problem. I’m sitting down to write this review because my list says that I’ve watched it. However, this came as a shock to me, since I couldn’t remember watching it initially. So this review may prove difficult and I have to rely on information online as well as my notes to try and remember what it was all about. This probably isn’t the best start.

Pickpocket is, apparently, about a pickpocket. Sorry to shock you, but it is. Martin LaSalle is Michel, who pickpockets someone at a racecourse and is arrested, although the charges don’t stick. Following this, he then falls in with a bunch of professional pickpockets and then shenanigans.

So, yeah, from what I’m reading in my notes, this film was pretty dull. Robert Bresson was known for casting non-actors in his films for “realism”, and for the second time this didn’t really pay off too well for him. The lead character apparently spends a lot of time explaining his emotions a lot in his narration, at least according to my notes, but does a very bad job of actually conveying these emotions on screen, and was quite wooden. In fact, at one point he describes his elation at his first successful pickpocketing attempt while looking like he’s sitting in a doctor’s waiting room.

The movie in general was pretty drab, apparently. It didn’t have much of a plot, and consisted mostly of Michel pickpocketing things, having feels about it but not really showing them all that well. And then having it happen some more. For quite some time.

From what little I’m beginning to remember, this all happened without any semblance of emotion. Michel is not an enthusiastic pickpocket, nor is he particularly remorseful or conflicted. He’s not really much of anything, to be honest. He’s a blank slate. He’s flat, drab and generally not a very interesting character. Problem is, without much of a plot that means this is a character piece, only it seems they forgot to include the character part too.

There also, apparently, was a confusing plotline involving a woman who was dating Michel’s friend, and then wasn’t, and was then dating Michel, or maybe she wasn’t. Also, both the friend and the woman knew about Michel’s criminal activities and disapproved, except when they didn’t seem to know about them. I have no idea because Michel wasn’t the only character who lacked emotions of any kind, and the dialogue certainly wasn’t giving me any clues either.

The fact that this is about all I can remember about the film says it all really. Pickpocket was a non-entity of a movie, one that barely tries to make its presence known and fails to stick with you in any meaningful way. Sorry about the short review, but this is the best I can do with what I have to work with.

Starring Martin LaSalle
Written by Robert Bresson
Produced by Agnes Delahaie
Cinematography by Leonce-Henri Burel
Edited by Raymond Lamy

Favourite Scene: I can barely remember the movie, what do you think?
Scene That Bugged Me: See above.

Watch it if: You think you’ll be able to remember it better than me
Avoid it if: You’re anybody else

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Posted on December 17, 2014, in 1950s, Drama, France. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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