L'Argent - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

L'Argent Reviews

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½ July 23, 2017
Can't entirely understand why the critics boast that this is a masterpiece, but the script is great, rotating between tension, psychology, and reflection. The most glaring pet peeve I have with the film is Bresson's signature non-acting, which comes off as robotic and awkward in the beginning, albeit it grows on you.
August 7, 2016
Bresson's last film is one of his best. He leaves no room for anything extra. There are no more dissolves, no more music (just his brilliant soundtrack).
He moves through so many many facets of society so quickly, efficiently and daringly. Today's filmmakers should learn a lesson with their 2 hour films which never get to the point.
You will never forget the car chase scene, where he as usual builds so much through the soundtrack. And the dog, roaming from room to room in a pinnacle scene is revolutionary.
Money corrupts, then and now, and his attack on french society was maybe another reason he was never given funding for his films.
Bresson's ability to show humanity, surprise, horror and complexity reminds of his hero Doestovesky and in this case Tolstoy.
The ending, the final scene and shot, pierces your soul.
May 15, 2016
Mr. Bresson has approached these themes before, namely the criminal desperation of Pickpocket and the imprisonment of body and soul in A Man Escaped, and L'Argent is as absorbing as either of them.
November 8, 2015
Tough to get. Tough to watch. Has stuff, but maybe I'm not tuned enough to the director, political context etc.
July 19, 2015
"L'argent" never really thrills and works only symbolically.
ElCochran90
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2014
Based on a short story by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy entitled "Faux Billet", L'Argent is Bresson's last uncompromising film which earned him the Best Director's Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, tied with Andrei Tarkovsky for Nostalgia (1983).

This time, Bresson's trademark minimalism becomes a neutral style that is more concerned with the moral implications of tragic misunderstandings and their irreversible repercussions rather than the grisly execution of the crimes. The level of score-less realism is somehow prophesying the future disturbingly quiet and engrossing lens of Austrian director Michael Haneke, moving from event to event with absolute confidence, like if the film had some remarkable level of self-awareness in the delivery of its contents.

Some melodramatic plot points indeed rise to the surface, but the low-key direction by Bresson keeps everything all the more realistic and interesting instead of clichéd. In this sense, just like Haneke, violence plays an important role in the story. Violence (both physical and psychological) is a consequence, the core of an unfortunate aftermath that was never called for. Alongside the aforementioned minimalism, the execution and the silence, when violence enters the stage, it speaks its statement in a shocking way and becomes all the more meaningful.

A great farewell of one of France's most influential filmmakers ever, L'Argent is a powerful commentary on moral implications portrayed as a chain of events that escape the extent of our judgments, and certainly an influential film to directors from Kieslowski to Haneke in all of its intentional nihilism.

82/100
½ January 29, 2014
A man fortuitously receives a counterfeit bill & his life spirals forever downward in this harrowing film about greed, misfortune, & happenstance.
October 9, 2013
There are definitely flaws here, but there is something super great about L'Argent. I can't think of another film that so succinctly conveys the cascading effects of one person's (criminal) decision. But unlike most films that focus on the original criminal, or perhaps the victim, this follows the ripple effect in society.

There are a couple of sticky plot points that weren't made clear, and the main character, Yvon Targe (Christian Patey), is a guy that is hard to connect with. But the over all arc is strong enough to over come these weaknesses.
½ October 8, 2013
This is one of the most baffling films I've ever seen. I love the writing. I love the pacing. But the acting is so unnatural and so emotionless that it could only be intentional. Bresson can be a great director, even with his minimalist touches, but this is just distracting. L'Argent is such a tragic story and could be very powerful and moving. But with the universally wooden performances of tense and rigid "actors" it's really hard to care. If someone could explain to me why this was a good choice, I'd love to hear it.
½ July 10, 2013
Fascinating adaptation of a Tolstoy story is the perfect final film from director Robert Bresson.
May 17, 2013
An interesting approach to film. Minimal dialogue makes you focus on all the ambient noises. Close, static shots which tend to defy the rules of photographic aesthetics cause the audience to infer what else is happening beyond the frame. Still, I highly doubt that counterfeiting is that much of a slippery slope . . .
May 13, 2013
This one is going to swim around in my head for a while. A remarkable film.
April 19, 2013
Powerfull film, one of Bresson's finest works
½ January 24, 2013
What Robert Bresson did with the cinematic form never ceases to amaze me. He concentrated intently upon the miniscule details of everyday life, and thus created, in each of his films, a thoroughly realized atmosphere. You get lost in his films. One curious thing that I've tried to wrap my head around is understanding the effect his use of "non-acting" has. He would shoot takes over and over again until "all semblance of 'performance' was gone." This was done in an attempt to distance his films from the traditional theatrical form, which relies heavily upon the magnitude of the acting performances. When that is stripped away, we have a very raw, almost unadulterated honesty that comes about. We're not distracted by grand monologues with plenty of tears and clenched fists. We have the dialogue as it is, and we have the characters just doing what they're suppose to do. It's quite dreamlike. But I wouldn't say it's a superior way of making films, just an extraordinarily groundbreaking way. This, his last film, is explosively revealing and painfully honest. I loved it.
½ December 30, 2012
Viewing Bresson's last film, I immediately got the feeling that the camera was set up too close to everything. Of course, this is entirely due to Bresson's longstanding penchant for filming the process of doing things; we see hands open doors, feet climb steps, and a variety of other manual actions that make up the larger behaviors of the characters in the story. This story, drawn from Tolstoy, is about the effect of a counterfeit 500 franc note on the people to whom it circulates. Unfortunately, I watched this with the worst subtitles ever and the plot remained somewhat elusive -- but I gather this might have been the case anyway. Yvon, the central character, is Bresson's fall guy who unintentionally passes the counterfeit note, gets caught, loses his job, and then his moral compass, descending into a life of crime that is finally horrific. Yet, Bresson treats everything methodically and his actors remain expressionless throughout, generating a strange intensity and making the film, at only 85 minutes long, fully compelling. The moral here may be a simple one, that money is the root of all evil, but Bresson's strategy of demonstrating this is largely oblique.
September 26, 2012
The first film that comes to my head when I think of what a perfect film is.

In the French master's last film, he gives us a demonstration of how society narrows us down to criminals, or narrows us down to BE criminals. It tells the story with multiple characters, but that is just to get around and expand on certain barriers in the story, but I certainly prefer it that way. It's style is one that became influential, and it certainly fits this film. If you don't understand why this is perfect, allow me to expand; the cinematography is constantly in affect and never skips a beat, it's construction around multiple characters is so simply done, but is so refreshing and is a reinvention of it (compared to "Nashville" (1975), let's say), and it's so bleak that it never catches itself off guard, but we still feel the full power of it. But, even though it is so evenly amazing in every aspect, a lot of what I'll remember will come from it's masterful cinematography. *Spoiler* Particularly the last scene where the camera follows the dog as he discovers the murders just a second before they occur. Wow, was that brilliant. Also the scene where it just shows the lighting from under the door, and the opening shot, and how we later figure out what it was. Well, anyway, while there is so much said and to be said about this perfect masterpiece, it barely says anything on the surface, and I think that is why I admire it so dearly.
½ July 27, 2012
Stripped down, abstract, minimalist--the final "striving" of one of France's most uncompromising filmmakers!!
July 19, 2012
Procedural drama that is done in a detached style. Bresson suggests that he strived to create truth, but his inability to engage with character here leaves the viewer clutching for something, anything to hold on to. Only by attaching his name does this film achieve any experimental significance because for me it was contrived and genuinely like watching paint dry.
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