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Made in U.S.A. Reviews

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hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

March 15, 2011
Toward the beginning of this film, I thought, "Wow: Godard hasn't completely eschewed the idea of using a plot to reveal characters through action and make their decisions reflect whatever political/philosophical point he wants to share." Then, that fucking radio voice spouting socialist propaganda appeared again, and I almost hurled my remote control through the television. But I didn't, dear friends. No, my television remains unfettered by a remote control sticking through its screen. What did I really do when Godard reverted to using his radio voice? I slumped in my chair. I played Blackjack on my iPhone. I waited for it all to be over - like a root canal or a conversation with my grandmother.
On a gem-within-a-pile-of-shit/looking-on-the-bright-side note, I liked the subtle post-structuralism here: the characters frequently refer to the fact that they're in a film, and some of the landmarks are named after famous film directors. This is how I think post-structuralism is effective.
The mystery plot, which I suspected might dominate the film's action, is almost unintelligible. I normally try to guess the culprit, but even at the end I didn't know who did it. The main problem with the film is that by that point I didn't care. I'm just happy I got blackjack.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

January 17, 2010
godards noir-comedy is solid but not without its problems. the film lacks the engaging dialogue that i expect from a godard film, and despite its short running time the film wastes a lot of time on silliness that makes for barely enough time to develop the mystery, which was underdeveloped severely. the characters were interesting enough and the quirkiness of the film kept me drawn in, but the film is only slightly above average and fairly forgettable.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2009
Not one of Godard's best and easy to see why it's/his style has been mocked ever since. It's politic and sociological humour is a little blurred and it could/can/has been dismissed as an experimental 'French Farce'. Shame, as it's visually beautiful. Very of it's time but it hasn't aged well, Godard is so much better than this.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

December 12, 2007
Not my favorite Godard, but worth watching if you are a fan. Great colors and central performance make this sometimes bracing film quite watchable.
Eric B

Super Reviewer

February 9, 2010
I've loved some other '60s Godard films, but this one disappointed me. Supposedly an arch remake of "The Big Sleep," "Made in U.S.A." had its "U.S.A." release delayed for decades due to the story rights not being properly cleared. But you'll have to do some brainwork to assemble a plot from this erratic collection of scenes. The film appears to have been shot very quickly and cheaply, and the actors just perfunctorily rattle through their lines as if they're in a hurry to get to the next location. Typically for Godard, there are frequent disruptions of cinematic reality, as characters have names taken from movie history (Ruby Gentry, Donald Siegel, Richard Widmark) and sometimes speak directly into the camera.

Music lovers won't want to miss a bar scene about 20 minutes into the action, where a young, ethereal Marianne Faithfull croons "As Tears Go By" a capella. Not onstage -- just casually sitting in a corner booth.
engrymfilm
July 29, 2009
Most all Godard's take second viewings to get a better perspective to what he's trying to say but with enough research and experience in watching his films you realize his commentary is the same: socialism, consumerism, political... just all done in a different fashion each time. This is quite a take though. Loosely based on an American novel, filled with references to real political figures and the greatest of filmmakers it's something that, amidst all of its hidden meaning and politics is very fun.
March 1, 2009
I forgot this movie before I got out of my seat. The trailer is vastly more entertaining than this indulgent in-joke. With so many other, more entertaining films with saturated colors and nice looking women, why watch this? Godard said something like, "All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun." "Made in U.S.A." proves this, but it's still a piece of shit.
September 8, 2014
Oh Godard, you silly man. This is the final film before Anna and Godard split up, and it's another clever film with irreverent gold like the bar scene, eye-popping colors, witty dialogue, self-aware references, political statements, and Anna Karina beauty.
July 30, 2014
Despite a genuinely interesting opening scene, a premise with lots of potential and some individual creative moments and amusing lines of dialogue, the film quickly becomes fairly dull as it would rather indulge in politically charged surrealism than develop its story and characters.
K. Davis
February 26, 2014
Just saw this on the big screen and its passion and beauty still linger, heavily, and a review is on its way . . ."I think advertisement is fascism"
February 11, 2013
Quite difficult to follow, but just go with it as is best to do with any Godard film. A radical look on politics, Karina is wonderful and in charge in her last role with Godard. Not his best, but still a fantastic piece of cinema from the master.
July 4, 2012
I don't know, man . . .
March 25, 2012
Paula's (Karina) boyfriend has just died, and though the undertaker says it was a heart issue, she doesn't believe it, and begins to believe he was murdered for political reasons. Paula then leads her own investigation because she "hates the police", and comes across dead bodies, fishy characters, and capitalism. "Made in USA" might have the plot of a film noir, and may have some scenes that seem like a thriller, but this is for sure an art house movie first and foremost. Filmed at the exact same time as "2 ou 3 Choses que je Sais d'Elle", the film is more remembered as the last partnership between director Jean-Luc Godard and his wife Anna Karina after six years of films. No, "Made in USA" doesn't have the brilliance of their other pairings such as "Alphaville" or "Bande ŗ part", this is still a wonderful exercise in how well Godard can use art in cinema and make such a simple movie turn into something so beautiful. Going over themes such as politics and capitalism, the film at times can be brilliant, but also can be pretentious, which at times can take away from the film. But that doesn't ruin the fact that the cinematography is so colorful, the unique score of Beethoven pieces sets an interesting tone, and the always interesting dialogue all create such a Godard-ish experience that you can forget every flaw. "Made in USA" certainly isn't Jean-Luc Godard's best, but that doesn't mean it isn't a brilliant film. And considering we'll never get to see the gorgeous Anna Karina again in his films adds a lot as well, but what sums what adds the most to the overall experience is the excellent remastering from the Criterion Collection. Recommended.
April 28, 2011
Era capaz de passar dias a ver a Anna Karina e atà (C) entendo a relação poeta-musa, mas tenho cada vez menos paciência para meta-filmes / exercícios de estilo feitos a pensar quase exclusivamente em quem já viu grande parte da obra de x autor.
braziliancinemaforgringos
May 8, 2010
Made In U.S.A.: Anna Karina's best performance in any Godard film, hands down. From object of desire to femme fatale, Godard's feeligns towards her had definately altered and it shows in Karina's often souless and uncharming looks. As ever the cinematography and ideas are fresh, but its often glued together in a haphazard fashion which leaves this as an inaccessible gem.

Verdict: 75/100
Parker M.
May 3, 2010
3 Stars out of 4

Jean-Luc Godard has smarts, yes, but also an impish sarcasm to him. To say Godard is an unconventional filmmaker is to say Albert Einstein was only a scientist. It's the case but there is so much more to them. Made In U.S.A has a fine juxtaposition to it. We are dealing with a taunting lampoon on American films, quite yes, but Godard strips everything of quality and quantity. The characters are ridiculous, the sound plays with a cheeky irrelevance, yet the cinematography is as bright as today's colour films. Everything looks mighty delicious but the themes are an appetite for destruction -- they disband from any sort of realism and run about on their own. Made In U.S.A, as good as it can be at times, needs to almost have a leash on it. Godard's experiments resemble extreme unconventional folly, but his approach to sensationalized American cinema is, though almost exquisite, undoubtedly dated.

There's always some kind of subversiveness to Godard's films. Someone has to be targeted. You could argue authority or just conventions themselves, as that is the authority of cinema. What is intriguing about Made In U.S.A. is that Godard takes on two perspectives: his own filmmaking ideology and an approach to Western cinema. It's a funny combination, observing a rather cynical French director critique that overly conventional style. Godard has of little faith in his characters as he does of his genre. American filmmaking has become so obscure we do not know if its the characters who are flawed or the style. It all looks so pretty, but why do we feel entrenched with this macabre feeling? Like everyone and everything is all a void.

You can get from the title itself that Made In U.S.A. is a bitter mockery. The rather brand-name title suggests an outlook on a type of manufactured films of that year 1966. All of cinema falls back into this echoed reincarnation of the Western clichť. How dull Godard envisions his plot, his characters, and his world -- but not his style. It jumps with a tonic zest, saturates the screen like a sprouting flower. Little did we know, this little colourful film was, and always was, Godard.

Paula (Anna Karina, Godard's wife for six years) is terrifically reduced. She is capricious, sentimental, flawed, depressed, -- you know what -- it does not matter. Observe Paula as nothing, Godard would prefer it that way. For Made In U.S.A.'s context, Paula is a quasi-femme fetale. Dangerous, delightful, and down and out. So many bodies drop on her account, but all Paula can focus on is singing frivolously to 'As Tears Go By' by The Rolling Stones. She's sad. About what? Her problems, life's problems, or cinema's problems? Godard, as an extravert auteur, is a genius.

Godard is unflinching with his pessimism. Cinema has no rules, so create your own. Godard goes nuts. In such 'intense' scenes, he interrupts the tension with a sound of speeding jets. For Godard, it does not have to make sense, because cinema does not make sense -- there is no material in cinema, so don't bother being 'real' with it. I admire Made In U.S.A. for its satire, for its attempt at plot, but not its longevity. Godard was firm on never making his films longer than 100 minutes, as he would probably considering anything longer a waste of our precious time. But here, Godard's game can only last so long, perhaps of short-film stamina. You will definitely grow tired of Made In U.S.A. quickly -- we get the joke, we get American films are limited, but Godard's plot, as always, never suffices in appeal. After 50 minutes or so, the rest will be a chore. Fortunately, the cinematography is not.

The lively looks capture a closed-in space. The characters shown on arbitrary angles on-screen, closed-in by this prefigured distortion. Nothing makes sense in these films, but the colour is a satirical sugar coding of Godard's absurdism. That makes Made In U.S.A. worth 82 minutes of your time.

Even that 400 Blows kid makes an appearance. His acting is top notch, his precociousness at a high. The actor is Jean-Pierre Lťaud and he is a finicky addition to Made In U.S.A. A simple challenge to Paula. She has to deal with him. For American cinema, it's for a matter of plot. For Godard, there is no matter, just observe the characters and exude your pity. They are just as futile as conventions.

Refrain from asking "what is the point?" because you won't find any. And if you are desperate for one, you will probably pick at the plot for some meaning, some rationalism. But Made In U.S.A. carries little point to its ideas. You will watch it, laugh at it, shake your head at it, and then possibly lose touch of it. Because Godard was an auteur of his time. There was a problem with his contemporary society and he wanted to reveal it. I loved this quote by Godard. He said: "I pity French Cinema because it has no money. I pity American Cinema because it has no ideas." If anything, Godard is perfectly frank. Is he right? Who knows. What is important are his ideas. This is not 82 minutes of nothing necessarily, this is 82 minutes about nothing. Where has all the substance gone? For Godard, as hard as it may have been for us to follow at times, was an answer worth solving.


I SAY--See It.
neverwakingworld
October 4, 2009
I saw Made In USA and 2 or 3 Things I know About Her at the Bijou theater in Iowa City. Out of the two I didn't like this one as much. There wasn't anything that bothered me really about the movie it just didn't impress me as much as the other. This movies plot was much more circular and confusing and didn't get you as interested in it as much. But it still made me question the film in a way that I haven't had to do a non-surrealist film before. I think I don't know enough about film yet and didn't understand this enough to really judge it.
Skyler C.
September 30, 2009
This movie would be very good for a new director, but for Godard, its not his greatest. The film was more normal then his other films, containing a plot thats semi-easy to understand, but still has Godard jokes and French cool attached to it. Its basicaly a spy story, but a pretty good one.
Pseudonym
August 12, 2009
The Artistic Bad Ass Chick Flick.

Jean-Luc Godard's first few films were shot in B&W, so he used Color as an advancement in the Art of Film. He was known to understand the Art of Film more than anyone else in his time, and he did. You're eyes will never get bored watching this film. Besides, it's a Bad-Ass Chick Flick.

Told in a cinematic, comic strip style, Anna Karina stars as a Private Investigator. Her colorful clothing, and calm demeanor are a constant interest. She's cold, and completely disconnected from reality. Just like the film, and her marriage to the Director. There?s a sad good bye hidden underneath the layers of this film.

Godard had no problem expressing himself with film. Who he was, and what he's about, is right there in his resume. He even had enough courtesy to make his sulking a Bad-Ass Chick Flick, actually worth watching. She doesn't do any martial-arts, but she does carry a gun.

'All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.' -Jean-Luc Godard
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