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.
In the near future, leftist writer Paula 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 »
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
Improvisational, character-driven film-noir that riffs on what can be done in the genre
Band of Outsiders, from the novel by Dolores Hitchens, is a jazzy and poetic take on the modern crime film, with more successful sequences than I could have expected. Unlike in his debut, Breathless, here the characters - two young men Arthur (Claude Brasseur) & Franz (Sami Frey) and the young woman Odile (the beautiful Anna Karina) - are quite accessible (at the least watchable) to those who aren't used to Godard's treatments of his main players.
That, along with a style including artful but elegant and, in opposition, gritty and 'cool' cinematography by Raoul Coutard and a striking, upbeat musical score by Michel Legrand, gives Jean-Luc Godard the edge in creating one of the most influential films of the new-wave. Arthur and Franz are different personalities- you can notice the differences in the little moments- but they have a shared idea as being would-be petty criminals. Franz meets Odile in a writing class, and after much talk they hatch a plan to steal all the money that Odile's father has stolen from the government and kept inside her house. The film takes its time leading up to the robbery, which is like a two punch knockout that at first is astonishing and then following it by devastating.
What makes Band of Outsiders a great film is not just the last act, but that the lead up to it, the filler, is rather extraordinary in its good grace to keep the audience entertained even as they know they're watching an art film (a good analogy is that Godard narrates much like Cocteau narrated over Blood of a Poet, except that here it's over a crime instead of a series of surrealistic events). Such moments of note are the minute of silence (like in Week End's traffic scene the audience feels much like the characters amid the duration of the scene), the subtly light-hearted feel of the classroom scene, and most notably the Madison dance.
The Dance sequence, in which our three anti-heroes turn on the jukebox and give a dance number that immediately calls to mind as inspiration for Travolta and Thruman's number to Chuck Berry in Pulp Fiction. However, after seeing this number, I'm inclined to argue that the Madison is the better of the two. There are also little moments that are funny and/or fascinating, and they go to show there's more emotion in this triangle than would usually be found in any kind of conventional film-noir.
After now seeing four of his films (Breathless, Contempt, Week End, and Band of Outsiders), this is my favorite. A+ (on my first viewing)
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