Breathless (1960): A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
Breathless is a very unusual movie. The movie has a plot, but the plot never once feels very coherent. To me, this movie appears to be very abrupt and scattershot throughout its 90-minute runtime. There is one aspect of the movie that is great, however. That is the cinematography. The cinematography of Breathless was very unique and innovative in style, using spectacular long shots that would alternate between close-ups, medium-shots, and even some wide shots. One scene that stuck out to me in particular was towards the end of the film between the two leads. The scene involved both characters talking to themselves, and whenever they did the camera would follow them around the room directly in front of them and then seamlessly change to the other character, as they would begin to talk to themselves. To compare it to a modern film, I believe the cinematography of the movie Birdman almost certainly took some inspiration from the cinematography of Breathless, as there are many seamless wide shots involving Michael Keaton’s character with the camera placed directly in front of him during a self-dialogue.
Sadly though, other than this cinematography, Breathless was not my style of movie. The editing was either great or too awful to follow as we had a great use of the crosscutting style. However, there were also certain scenes that happened so suddenly it took me couple minutes to understand what had just happened. An example of this was when the cop was being shot at the beginning of the film. This may have been the intention of director Jean-Luc Godard, but I could not tell. At the end of the day, I’m glad I saw this movie, however I have no plans on seeing it again. To me, it was an average film.
The Verdict: 5/10 Average.
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