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Michel takes up picking pockets as a hobby, and is arrested almost immediately, giving him the chance to reflect on the morality of crime. After his release, though, his mother dies, and he rejects the support of friends Jeanne and Jacques in favour of returning to pickpocketing (after taking lessons from an expert), because he realises that it's the only way he can express himself... Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Insufferably boring. Pure museum piece of stultifying inaction
I guess this makes me a philistine, but sitting through Pickpocket in its beautifully rendered Criterion DVD edition was simply painful. To those who are not professional film historians, you should be aware that this is not a crime drama in any sense of the genre, and really not a drama. That's because there is no attempt, no attempt to have a plot. Pickpocket is an expression of pure naturalism in film. People simply are. There are no visible emotions, no interaction, no dramatic tension. There is only beautiful camera work--the loving caress of 35mm black and white touching the fascinating surface of Paris in the late 1950's. (There are also endless "lessons" in how professional pickpockets operate...enough to scare you into hiding your traveling money in one of those weird tourist belt things!) The film really belongs in a museum and I know that film lovers much more aesthetically attuned than I appreciate it as though it were a museum masterpiece. That's fine. But if you rent it or buy it in DVD or video thinking you're going to see one of those classic noir-inspired late 50's French crime films, you will be bored out of your mind waiting for the plot to happen. Believe me, it doesn't.
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