Lacombe Lucien - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lacombe Lucien Reviews

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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2009
[font=Century Gothic]In "Lacombe Lucien," it is 1944 in Southwest France where Lucien(Pierre Blaise) works in a nursing home. Given five days off, he returns home to his mother(Gilberte Rivet) and finds things radically changed with his father in a German prison camp. Bored, he tries to sign up with the French resistance but is denied by Robert Peyssac(Jean Bousquet) as being too young. Having no other options, he returns to the nursing home but his bike gets a flat causing him to arrive after dark when he is drawn to a party at a hotel which turns out to be Gestapo headquarters. The German police take a liking to the youth after he turns in Peyssac and is taken to get his first suit.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Louis Malle, "Lacombe Lucien" is a chilling look at occupied France where there is a compulsion for the populace to inform on each other. While there may be some easy answers as to why some people would collaborate with the Nazis such as anti-Semitism and anti-Communism(There is a Gestapo member who is black and I would have loved to have heard his story.), Lucien is another matter entirely as his alliance with the Nazis is a matter of circumstance. Apparently, he lacks a conscience and gets a little drunk on whatever power he has. However, as one character puts it, Lucien is somehow not entirely despicable. On the other hand, he is not likable, either.[/font]
Super Reviewer
March 10, 2008
Rich absurdities abound.
February 5, 2011
This is a good movie, perhaps - a very good movie, but really sad.
According to Wikipedia, film critic for The New York Times Vincent Canby said that film center character, "must remain forever mysterious, forever beyond our sympathy". While there hardly could be any sympathy indeed, I don't see much of mystery in Lucien. Louis Malle showed us enough to see this undeveloped but sadistic character. He is not hopeless, he could become closer to norm, but on the other side, at this age person must already responsible for himself. Lucien Lacombe fails to be responsible.
A reviewer at IMDB said something about "innocence corrupted by war". Oh, no. It's not innocence, it's a brutal under-development. War didn't teach Lucien to kill birds. And I hope a reviewer would never encounter such "innocent" luciens on his way. I served in Russian army and I saw such characters...
September 6, 2008
The kid in this film is definitely a top contender for the Most Sociopathic Youth award. I was sufficiently entertained by this film but it isn't great. It's incredibly plodding at times and it tends to dead-end or simply leave certain points unended altogether. Lots of blank stares and quiet moments. I don't necessarily mind both or either, except that this film takes them to new extremes. It feels like a robot made this film; there is next to no emotion. I realize that most of these points of contention were, in fact, the point of the film itself; I simply feel that they don't mesh well together at the end of the day.
January 17, 2009
The only thing that I cared about this film was that it's really easy to kill rabbits and chickens with your bare hands. I guess I already knew that about chickens, but not rabbits. I really didn't find the story interesting and was bored to death.
February 12, 2008
The film is interesting in the sense that for once we see the other side. Here no courageous resistant, just a bunch of idiotic, violent fascists. But the film is really not good. The camera work dramatically lacks imagination, the characters are dull and the story has next to no interest.
December 6, 2014
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature went to Patrick Modiano, co-writer of this 1974 French film. Pierre Blaise gives a standout performance as the title character Lucien Lacombe, an enigmatic young man rejected by the Resistance in 1944 and instead stumbling into a role as a member of the Gestapo. The character is somewhat enigmatic and never successfully sympathetic but instead young, apathetic, selfish, cruel, quick to take advantage of his unexpected new powers as a German policeman but forced to face the consequences of the war, especially after he falls in love with a young Jewish woman.

The movie is tense and suspenseful precisely because it is always unclear what Lacombe will do next, even after he begins to realize that he is probably on the wrong side of the war.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the film is the apparent lack of rules about harming animals during the filming. There are some really gruesome dispatches of animals that reflect the time and culture and add to the character's cruelty and the bleakness of the film. This is not an enjoyable movie to watch but it is incredibly well done and its commentary about war and complicity will likely always be timely.
September 27, 2014
Louis Malle has set himself a particularly difficult challenge here: to compose a character study of an inarticulate man-child. But he has a purpose, for Lucien Lacombe is meant to represent the kind of French adolescent who might have been drawn to collaborate with the Nazis during the Occupation. He's not mature yet and vaguely frustrated with his lot (working at a nursing home in a small rural community) - he might be willing to join the Resistance but is turned down for being too young and unfocused. So, he is easily seduced by the power and decadence of the collaborators. As others have suggested, Malle (like Marcel Ophuls in The Sorrow and the Pity) has aimed to portray the "banality of evil" as produced by average individuals who, under other circumstances, probably wouldn't have acted this way. That is an open question for sure but the combination of person (Lacombe, Lucien) and situation (Vichy, France) may ignite to produce horrors. When Lucien becomes attracted to a young Jewish girl, the Gestapo power he possesses allows him to act willfully and to initiate actions that have terrible consequences; we just aren't sure whether he fully understands what he's doing. If this is really how evil materializes, we will all need to be on our guard.
½ January 29, 2013
During the WWII, a French countryside boy, Lucien Lacombe, insouciantly gets involved and recruited by the local Gestapo, after procuring the fast-gained high-handed social position and war trophies, his life has descended into a limbo when he is enamored with a Jewish girl.

Louis Malle's Oscar-nominated WII feature clings on a well-balanced pace, concocts a carefully-conducted ideological wartime mind state from assorted kinds, mainly zooming in on the conflicting counterpoise between French-born Gestapos (there are scarcely any German has been mentioned in the film) and the fretful Jews in French. Also the resistance power as the third party has never been really put a sizable weight in the narrative line (not as in Jean-Pierre Melville's ARMY OF SHADOWS, 1969, 9/10).

The metaphor of the overpowering horror at then is constantly and insistently being dispersed by a motley slaying of various animals, killing birds, dead horse, hunting rabbits, catching a domestic hen and snapping its neck, even a dying dalmatian in the ominously poised supporting-characters-go-to-hell slaughter. All the shots emit a kind of unsettling cinematic impact on the viewers (animal lovers particularly), the message has been unmistakably transmitted, but still not recommendable.

First-timer and amateurish leading actor Pierre Blaise (who would unfortunately die in a car accident one year later) bears a tremendous balance of ennui and restlessness, an archetype of the rebellion youth, without any stage-fright to give away his newbie tag, his taciturn image can last for ever. Another great performance is from Holger Löwenadler, the Jewish father-in-law figure for Lucien, whose dignified integrity has to miserably yield to a adrenalin-driven adolescent's advance on his daughter, an exemplified cautionary tale of the misappropriation of weaponry and power. The daughter, Lucien's love interest, played by Aurore Clément, is a more opportunist symbol, oscillating between subservient lover and vengeful daughter. Among a handful of supporting roles, most of which are abruptly dissipating in the second half when the love-pursuit dominates the film, it could have been a potpourri of bountiful individual explorations, but Malle didn't opt for that way.

The bleak shots of the ghost town after curfew is an indelible testimony of the dreadful terror of the life during wartime, Malle's film outlandishly culminates in a 15 minutes bucolic spree with Lucien, the daughter and her grandmother (an almost wordless Therese Giehse, but exudes great force of hatred even for a dazed glance), living in his countryside house (bombed and deserted now), rendering the film its most telling salve to the young lost souls, one may get a belated palpitation towards our young protagonist out of detachment which for me is the pre-eminent sense through its 138 minutes running time.
January 13, 2013
This is a movie about life during war as it is. No heroics, no charm. The movie is about an unsophisticated kid from country side who takes full advantage of the war. Initially Lucien tries to join the resistance but he is denied as there are many more like him. On being refused he joins Gestapo and thoroughly enjoys all the benefits associated with it. He blackmails a Jew tailor and seduces his beautiful daughter. Every frame of the movie shows only two things: Lucien's selfishness and his innocence. In spite of being with the Gestapo he is no thug. He doesn't understand all the complexities. He wants to fight and also enjoy all the benefits that comes from being part of the German police.
April 29, 2012
A young man (Pierre Blaise) wants to be part of the French Resistance during the final stages of World War II. However, he is restricted by the organization and joins the French Gestapo, harassing and arresting individuals who are thought to be against the Germans. He also develops a love affair with a woman who is from the opposite side from him. Pretty compelling movie that fully shows a corrupt young man who obviously has a yearning to kill. Solidly acted and very nice photographed. Sadly, he also loves to kill animals just for the fun of it, especially in the first twenty minutes of the movie. I really not sure if that was needed to show the animals killed and for that, the movie loses points for. Even despite the interesting story, a warning must be issued to viewers with regards to the animal cruelty, which was controversial upon release in 1974.
½ March 27, 2009
I have been watching a lot of Louis Malle films lately and just finished Lancombe Lucien. I saw "Au Revoir les Enfants". on the big screen when it come out int the states. This film continues in the exploration of adolescent and WWII. Lucien is only 16 or 17 and wants to join the resistance underground but a series of incidents make him a collaborator and he joins the German Police. He is torn between the morals he grew up with and the morals of being one of "them:" Beautiful photography great sets great story. Not Malle's greatest effort but certainly a very good french movie!! four out of 5 stars.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2009
[font=Century Gothic]In "Lacombe Lucien," it is 1944 in Southwest France where Lucien(Pierre Blaise) works in a nursing home. Given five days off, he returns home to his mother(Gilberte Rivet) and finds things radically changed with his father in a German prison camp. Bored, he tries to sign up with the French resistance but is denied by Robert Peyssac(Jean Bousquet) as being too young. Having no other options, he returns to the nursing home but his bike gets a flat causing him to arrive after dark when he is drawn to a party at a hotel which turns out to be Gestapo headquarters. The German police take a liking to the youth after he turns in Peyssac and is taken to get his first suit.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Louis Malle, "Lacombe Lucien" is a chilling look at occupied France where there is a compulsion for the populace to inform on each other. While there may be some easy answers as to why some people would collaborate with the Nazis such as anti-Semitism and anti-Communism(There is a Gestapo member who is black and I would have loved to have heard his story.), Lucien is another matter entirely as his alliance with the Nazis is a matter of circumstance. Apparently, he lacks a conscience and gets a little drunk on whatever power he has. However, as one character puts it, Lucien is somehow not entirely despicable. On the other hand, he is not likable, either.[/font]
½ August 28, 2006
Good French World War II era film.
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