Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur le pianiste)

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 28


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,650
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Movie Info

Francois Truffaut's loving homage to Hollywood gangster films is less a plot-filled film noir than a free-associative meditation on the genre. Charles Aznavour stars as a one-time concert pianist who gained fame as Edouard Saroyan but has since changed his name to Charlie Kohler and plays honky-tonk in an out-of-the-way saloon. His self-imposed exile is shattered by the appearance of his mobster brother Richard Saroyan (Jacques Aslanian). Richard and his other brother, Chico (Albert Remy), are on the lam from gangsters they've double-crossed. Charlie helps Richard and Chico get away, but he now finds that his life, along with his younger brother Fido's (Richard Kanayan, has been put into jeopardy, having gotten mixed up with gangsters Momo (Claude Mansard) and Ernest (Daniel Boulanger) who are pursuing Richard and Chico. Momo and Ernest keep an eye on Charlie's apartment and, although they don't get Fido, they manage to kidnap Charlie and Lena (Marie Dubois), a co-worker with whom he has fallen in love. But when Ernest runs a red light and is pulled over, Charlie and Lena escape the gangsters' clutches. They take refuge in Lena's apartment, where Charlie sees a poster for a performance by Edouard Saroyan, causing Charlie to think back upon the circumstances that had led him to this moment in his life. Lena and Charlie make love, and Charlie returns to his apartment, only to discover Fido has been kidnapped. Lena and Charlie then head back to his club, where they plan to quit their jobs and try to find Fido. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur le pianiste)

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur le pianiste)

  • Nov 29, 2016
    Everyone talks about how much of an homage this is to Hollywood film noir, but to me it seems much more like a light version of a Hollywood gangster film. Sure, there are some scenes at night and the film is black and white, but the plot is straightforward, there's not a lot of gritty drama, and the 'bad guys' are not all that menacing. That doesn't make the film bad, just miscategorized. What I found most interesting was the running theme of the nature of the relationship between men and women, the 'new wave' cinematography Truffaut includes (including cool scenes shot out of a car window at night in the winter towards the end), and the humanism of the timid piano player, sucked up into clashes with criminals as well as a love affair, and whose past is gradually revealed. It's enjoyable but relative to the gangster story there are several moments which don't seem honest or real, and the shootout scene is cheesy. On the other hand, the relationship aspects are fascinating, the film is enjoyable from start to finish, and it's cool to watch a Truffaut film from 1960 - watch it for that.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 23, 2013
    Applying all the techniques from the French New Wave, Truffaut's 'Shoot the Piano Player' combines unique wit and thrills that coerce into a solidly original work.
    Kase V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 10, 2011
    A second from François Truffaut, Shoot The Piano Player boldly shoots how the past haunts the present and shall continuously pester the future. Crime, drama, romance, and mystery right on target.
    Jan Marc M Super Reviewer
  • May 31, 2011
    Truffaut's take on the gangster picture is astoundingly phenomenal.
    Alex H Super Reviewer

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