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...
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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
Jean-Luc Godard's homage to American film noir has a mysterious woman (Anna Karina) trying to figure out who killed her former lover. The woman travels throughout France questioning various men trying to figure out who was behind the murder while the viewer tries to figure out why they're bothering watching the film. There's no question that Godard is a legend of the screen but there's also no question that many, many people hate him. Hate's too strong of a word but I do admit that I think the director likes to be frustrating and the more people he makes mad I'm sure the happier he is. The story itself really isn't all that interesting and I found it funny that Godard had said in interviews that he was influenced by the Humphrey Bogart classic THE BIG SLEEP. The two films have very little in common and I'd say there's also very little homage to the classic noirs of the 40s and 50s. For the most part the film succeeds in being weird but like most Godard movie it's still well-made no matter how silly, boring and stupid it gets. I think what I liked most about the film were the colors that Godard uses on our main character. When we first see her she's wearing a multi-color dress and throughout the movie her wardrobe is clearly the most interesting and entertaining thing on the screen. I liked the way Godard used this colors to really light up the scene just like filmmakers would use shadow and fog to bring to life their noirs. The story itself I found to be very uninteresting and there wasn't a single second where I cared what was going on and I certainly didn't care who killed the former lover. I'm sure some Godard fans would say that was what the director was going for and I'd personally believe this but at the same time I just don't fall into the group who believes you can be pointless and unconventional and make it entertaining. The performances are pretty good for what they are but none of them really jump out at you. The film has fun mentioning earlier films and we even get Bogart's name thrown up and one character is named Richard Widmark. MADE IN U.S.A. is a film that I'm sure has some fans but I found it rather hard to sit through even though it's well-made.
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