Set in the near future, Paula, a leftist writer, goes from Paris to the French town of Atlantic-Cité when she learns of the death of a former colleague and lover, Richard P. Is she there to... See full summary »
Set in the near future, Paula, a leftist writer, goes from Paris to the French town of Atlantic-Cité when she learns of the death of a former colleague and lover, Richard P. Is she there to investigate? On the surface, faces are beautiful, colors bright, clothes trendy. Beneath, little is clear: some talk to Paula as if she's Alice in Wonderland, corpses pile up, and ideological struggles insert themselves. A murder victim's nephew and a political party's hired hands hover around Paula. Is obscuring things her goal or is it life that's obscure? Written by
The characters are all named after filmmakers, actors, writers and political figures. Examples: David Goodis (pulp writer), Doris Mizoguchi (named after directer Kenji Mizoguchi), Donald Siegel (director), Paul Widmark (named after actor Richard Widmark) etc... See more »
So Godard is not for everyone. I need to preface things here with that. Godard is such a polarizing figure some folks actually get angry at not just the director, but also with the people who enjoy his work. I've actually been accused a few times of simply pretending to dig the guy by those who didn't have the patience. But, for my money, when Godard was in his power (ie the Sixties) no one could touch him.
Made in USA, so Godard claims, is a remake of the Big Sleep. But, and it should be noted up top, I don't think we can believe him. Part of the fun is dealing with how he will lie to you, treat you with contempt, and/or in general mess with your head. There are constant interruptions in the film, Godard forces you to face the fact you are watching a film and to size it up constantly. Godard doesn't exist to watch on auto pilot; he wants you to analyze the act of viewing. It can be infuriating, especially when he removes action sequences or very awkwardly names characters/places "Otto Preminger" or "Richard Widmark." The political statements get a little heavy handed as well, though treated with humor.
As much fun as I find the film, and this entire period of Godard, watching a film like this or Pierrot Le Fou or 2 or 3 Things About Her or Weekend is work. You are expected to be actively involved. If you want to be told a story or feel like you are looking into another world, maybe Made in USA is not for you. And that's cool, these films are obnoxious and pretentious. But it can be extremely rewarding if you are willing to admit you may not "get" chunks of the film and maybe enjoyment will only kick in after thinking about the movie for a couple days. That sounds like faint praise, but Made in USA is an audacious, bold, exciting film that makes you confront what you always took for granted in classic Hollywood.
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