The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ant-Man and the Wasp
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All Critics (7)
| Top Critics (1)
| Fresh (7)
| Rotten (0)
M. Boyer enjoys excellent support in Mile. Ozeray.
Fantastic elements are well-handled by the normally ice-cold realist Lang.
A lovely addition to the Lang filmography. It reveals a less harsh, less paranoid filmmaker.
Boyer makes for a fine lovable louse, giving the film gusto.
A major work, a masterpiece.
It's both better than its earlier reputation, which was based on the cut version, and yet still disappointing in some ways.
Director Fritz Lang draws us in immediately with a beautiful opening credit sequence which segues to a boisterous Charles Boyer in the role of Liliom, a carousel barker at a carnival. Liliom flirts with the ladies and plays to the crowd, and we find ourselves charmed. It wears off as he begins putting the moves on a beguiled young woman (Madeleine Ozeray), because it turns out he's quite a rake. He begins living off her and abusing her besides, in one scene slapping her, and in others alluding to beating her. I won't say more about the plot, except to say it takes a very interesting turn when he reluctantly agrees to commit a crime with his low-life buddy (Pierre Alcover).
Lang is very creative in this film, keeping us offbase as to where the film is going and capturing nice shots with reflections and shadows. At one point Boyer is mired in bureaucracy waiting for a form to be stamped, which is a comical moment. I had the film scored a little higher, but it dropped a little for me in just how light it got as it played out. The film was set up for much more interesting moments, and it seemed like a blown opportunity when it got silly. I was also not a fan of one of the film's messages, that out of love in a relationship "someone can beat you, and beat you, without hurting you at all." Watch this one for the unique role Boyer plays (apparently one of the actor's favorites), and to see Fritz Lang's only French film, made shortly after he left Germany.
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