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Jean-Luc Godard obviously loves film noir. In "Made in USA", László Szabó's character's name is Richard Widmark, and of course, he plays a tough guy. In "À bout de souffle", Jean-Paul Belmondo's "Michel Poiccard" idolizes Humphrey Bogart. So when I heard about "Détective", I knew Godard was getting the opportunity to prove his love to the genre, although from the beginning I knew that it wouldn't be a regular homage. And yet, "Détective" is enjoyable, even if it as abstract as any other Godard film.
If you asked me, I couldn't explain the plot-- all I know is that all of the characters are connected with criminal activity, at least one of them being a "detective". Nearly everyone carries a gun, and any male character that has a female by his side will at some point have some misunderstanding. While none of the story makes sense, heck, if you fast-forwarded through the whole movie it wouldn't make a difference, somehow every minute is endearing, because Godard obviously doesn't want this to be a normal film. Rather, he gives us bits and pieces of noir, considering one of the main characters is a boxer named "Tiger Jones", and the Chanal couple (Claude Brasseur, Nathalie Baye) want to get their filthy paws on some loot.
Has Godard truly grown as a filmmaker since his debut in 1960? Not really. But that doesn't really matter, because his filmmaking strategy is unlike any other, and without him, there wouldn't be "art house". Instead, we'd just have regular films that just happen to be French. His style is so distinct that I'm thankful that cinephiles everywhere get the chance to see a filmmaker doing what HE loves, not what the audiences prefers. Godard's ways of making a film often times can get a little bit irritating or pretentious for a certain film ("La Chinoise" anybody?), but with "Détective", it really works.
Besides the fact that Godard's character move about in a world of sin, there's many more pieces in "Détective" that are even more interesting. As usual, Godard prefers to use jump-cut and close-up editing rather than the norm, and his use of music is classical rather than an original score. And I love it. It seems to me that the director enjoyed making this film, and it shows.
"Détective" isn't a regular film noir homage. If you want that, look towards "Sin City" or "The Good German". But it's Godard, and it's great.
Almost completely action-less take on film noir by Godard (returning from self-imposed obscurity in the mid-80s) that uses stars and stars-to-be (like Julie Delpy, aged 14) to show how you might put together a very obtuse variation on the boxing-mafia-debt-last chance scenario. Jean-Pierre Leaud leads a comic team offering a comment on the possibilities of home videotaping whereas the other stars, particularly Baye, Hallyday, and Brasseur, talk talk talk through the main plot strand. Godard namechecks his favourite books (Lord Jim) and films (La Belle et La Bete) and throws some text around. Needs to be unpacked but I don't have the patience to do it right now.
I will knock out Tiger Jones.
I love Godard Movies and this one stole again my Heart such a Grotueske Story with such freaky Characters in Front of such Grandious Cinematography with so much Godardness i love it
Clever and daring. A witty take on film-noir and one of Godard's better films of the past 30 years.
While not vintage Godard thier is still plenty here to keep you interested.
Made at the end of Godards second commercial period the film is a noir set in a crumbling Paris Hotel.
What seems simple tale of blackmail and muder is given the Godard touch as he lists actors and stars in the very long credit sequence and using video as a tool to uncover the mystery at the heart of the film ,who killed the prince?
The cast contains the huge French star Johnny Halliday as a crooked boxing promoter and Truffaut fave Jean Pierre Leuad as a hotel cop on the trail of the killer.
Of course this being Godard nothing is what it seems and the use of music an visuals is a joy to behold.
The story goes that Godard was in a filthy mood on the set ,but even a grumpy Godard is interesting,great stuff
Though for a good part of this film I wasn't sure what was going on, I trust in Godard to always take me some place interesting and mind-expanding.
[font=Century Gothic]"Detective" was filmed in 1985 as the video revolution was taking hold. In the film, three people(Laurent Terzieff, Aurelle Doazan & Jean-Pierre Leaud) try to discover who killed the prince in the same hotel room where he died. To help out, they record and view videotapes obsessively. On the videotapes are a pilot(Claude Brasseur) and his wife(Nathalie Baye) who are trying to get money they feel is owed to them by a shady boxing promoter(Johnny Hallyday). This sets up Jean-Luc Godard's thesis of repitition and truth. In other words, how many times do we have to watch something before discovering the absolute truth? [/font]
[font=Century Gothic]So far, so good.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]But not long into it, Godard gets bored with any kind of plot, and starts indiscriminately moving back and forth not only between the above groups but also a third(including Julie Delpy and Emmanuelle Seigner when they were just starting out), one of whom is just around to try on various outfits. Basically, it feels like the remote is in the control of a five-year old, albeit alternating between the Sundance and Independent Film Channels. So, maybe "Detective" is really about short attention spans. Or it could be a modern take on "The Tempest." Who knows?[/font]
Funny, twisted and, of course, very avant-garde. Having huge stars such as Johnny Hallyday, Claude Brasseur and Nathalie Baye didn't bring Godard's usual themes and filmmaking down a bit. This is why he is such an amazing director.
Perhaps the most poetic, referential and artistic film by the French master, the poetry is substantially in the photography and dialoue, and somewhat in the narrative, as with all his films. Loved the recurring shot with the billiard balls.