Pickpocket

1959

Pickpocket

Critics Consensus

Narratively spare and told with clockwork precision, Pickpocket is a carefully observed character study that packs an emotional wallop.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 37

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,649
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Movie Info

This incomparable story of crime and redemption from the French master Robert Bresson follows Michel, a young pickpocket who spends his days working the streets, subway cars, and train stations of Paris. As his compulsive pursuit of the thrill of stealing grows, however, so does his fear that his luck is about to run out. A cornerstone of the career of this most economical and profoundly spiritual of filmmakers, Pickpocket is an elegantly crafted, tautly choreographed study of humanity in all its mischief and grace, the work of a director at the height of his powers.

Cast

Jean Pelegri
as Police Inspector
Kassagi
as Master Pickpocket
Pierre Étaix
as Accomplice
Dolly Scal
as Michel's Mother
Cesar Gattegno
as Detective
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News & Interviews for Pickpocket

Critic Reviews for Pickpocket

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (1)

  • The movie, above all, affirms the miracle of redemptive love and its price in humility and unconditional surrender.

    Jul 2, 2018 | Full Review…
  • A picture so original in style that it sometimes seems downright peculiar.

    Mar 5, 2013 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • It is, at base, about self-fulfilment and redemption through love -- a common enough idea in films. But this 1959 epic has seldom been equalled as a philosophical treatise on the subject.

    Mar 5, 2013 | Full Review…

    Derek Malcolm

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Robert Bresson made this short electrifying study in 1959; it's one of his greatest and purest films, full of hushed transgression and sudden grace.

    Mar 5, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Bresson choreographs the complex techniques of lifting wallets and watches with such precision that one seems to be watching a kind of surreptitious ballet.

    Mar 5, 2013 | Full Review…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • French director Robert Bresson used his nonactors only once and orchestrated every gesture and glance; the performances that resulted are both mesmerizing and suffused with mystery.

    Feb 27, 2007 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Pickpocket

  • Apr 21, 2014
    Bresson's unemotional style and wooden performances may not be accessible to everyone but it is impressive how he holds our interest in the many minutiae of the pickpocketing sleight of hand tricks, making them seem more like an art than a condemnable deed.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 19, 2013
    Pickpocket is the glorious story of a pickpocket in the world inhabited by other grifters. It is a very memorable tale.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 25, 2011
    The appeal of "Pickpocket" is less about its story (the title is self-explanatory) and more about the deft economy of Robert Bresson's direction. Not a stroke is wasted. The depictions of intricate, tag-team pickpocket moves are especially sharp -- the eye can barely follow the action. "Pickpocket" has one glaring handicap: The untrained actors look strangely dazed throughout the film. This may be an intentional effect, but their stupor leaves little room for an emotional connection. Luckily, the movie is over so soon that it never has a chance to turn dull.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • May 12, 2010
    Pickpocket influenced Paul Schrader's film works "Taxi Driver", "American Gigolo", and "Light Sleeper". The story of a young man living as a lonely man pickpocketing ppls wallet for a living. He's living in guilt and a beautiful french woman seems to be his only salvation. Robert Bresson known as the Christian among filmmakers makes this gentle fascinating picture.
    Brian R Super Reviewer

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