A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
A triangle: Franz, Arthur, and Odile. Franz, a young man with Alain Delon good looks, has met Odile in an English class. She lives in Joinville with wealthy benefactors and has mentioned to Franz that Mr. Stolz keeps a pile of 10,000 franc notes unlocked in his room. Franz tells his friend Arthur, a swarthy guy whose shady uncle is pressing him for money. Arthur and Franz, who mimic American movie tough guys, case Odile's house, pressure her to assist them with a burglary, and make passes at her as well. She's alternately compliant and distressed. Will they pull off the heist?Written by
The book the band buys at the Seine bookshops ("bouquinistes") is the novel "Odile" by Raymond Queneau. The novel has the same name as the female protagonist. See more »
When assaulted by his uncle, Arthur's position changes between shots. See more »
My story ends here like a dime novel. At a superb moment, when everything is going right. Our next episode, this time in Cinemascope and Technicolor: Odile and Franz in the tropics.
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For the last time (?) on the screen Music by Michel Legrand See more »
Apart from perhaps being a satire of gangster movies, the point of this film eludes me. Two guys and a young woman plan a robbery at the Paris house where the young woman lives with her aunt. The young woman is naive and constantly scared. The two young men are seemingly rather ordinary. I didn't find any of these people interesting. We never learn much about them or what motivates them. Yet, given that this is a "New Wave" film I doubt that characterization was all that important to the film's director.
The plot starts out okay, but then meanders, and then becomes increasingly silly and unbelievable. Maybe that was intentional. Midway through, the three main characters suddenly, and for no reason, burst into a dance called the "Madison", the steps to which are nothing if not annoyingly repetitive. This bouncy little interlude goes on for some time, yet it has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Again, maybe that's the point.
Other gimmicks are inserted gratuitously, evidently to shock 1964 viewers into the realization, consistent with New Wave doctrine, that the film is not a product of the dreaded classical Hollywood narrative style of film-making.
But the worst element of this film is the sound. Background, ambient noise is amplified; why, I don't know, except, again, as some counterpoint to standard Hollywood films. Yet, the noise in "Band Of Outsiders" is so distracting, even grating, it takes away from what little value the visuals and narrative may have.
B&W cinematography is unremarkable. Lighting is low-contrast. Visuals trend toward grayish, pallid tones. Production design, in keeping with low-budget film-making, is plain, even cheap looking.
As a daring and iconoclastic attempt in 1964 to provide an alternative to stodgy, old-style Hollywood film-making, Godard's "Band Of Outsiders" probably does have some historical value. But what was visionary then seems campy and trite now.
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