Band of Outsiders

1964 Godard funk

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Two buddies named Franz and Arthur meet the fetching Odile in an English language class. They fall for her, likely because she's fetching, and try to persuade her to help them steal a wad of cash from a bureau in her aunt's house. Love triangles, Hollywood B-movie imitation, half-assed crime sprees, and dancing ensue.

This is Godard at his most playful, most winking, and most ornery. Snippets of jazz in the score, a scene featuring a minute of silence (I think it's short about twenty seconds though), a lengthy dance sequence, wanton melodrama, cheeky omniscient narration. Following (not directly) the more sophisticated Contempt and Breathless, this is like a crazy uncle of a movie, standing up right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner to show you that he's got his napkin sticking out the opened fly of his trousers, a cloth phallus that he, of course, points to with both thumbs. I like the three leads. Well, I guess Sami Frey as Franz (reminds me of John Lurie a bit) and Claude Brasseur (no relation) are fine. I enjoyed some of Franz's mannerisms anyway, cool-guy pointing and show-off Fedora tricks. But honestly, I'm not sure how either of those guys did because whenever Anna Karina was on the screen, I couldn't take my eyes off her and nothing else mattered. I'm not just talking about nothing elses in the movie either. Nothing else in life mattered, nothing in the past, nothing in the future, and certainly nothing in the present. She's a goddess! The narrative's simple, but the dialogue's clever, self-referential and almost-funny. The style's simple, too, but deceptively so, especially during a scene in Odile's house where violence begins to escalate, a scene that almost works like a ballet with Godard using the architecture similarly to how he used space in Breathless. Tarantino named his production company after this movie, and it reminds me a bit of Jeunet's work although that could just be the playfulness and narrator use. This is one crazy uncle you won't complain about after you catch him fisting the stuffing when Grandma turns her back.


l@rstonovich said...

Karina is a goddess. I could watch her in that dance sequence for eternity. Too lazy to see if you've done Pierret Le Fou yet. She's amazing in that too, and opposite dude from Breathless.

Shane said...

Here, Larst:

What you're going to notice though is that you actually left a comment on that one. I saw the date and said, "Huh. Larst left a comment TOMORROW..." Turns out it was a year ago tomorrow.

I mention Karina's looks in every review of a movie with her...I think that makes me piggish.