I stumbled across this film while browsing Netflix. Worth the rent! Anyone who loved Jean Seberg will love this film. She's terrific. This role shows her at her tragic best.
Those of you who are used to the American style of crime movie might not get this film. Romain Gary's approach is one of minimalist absurdity. This is much more French ala Goddard than French Connection. But give it a chance. View with no expectations and perhaps you'll see the film for what it is.
Stephen Boyd is no slouch either. His scenes with Seberg are very disturbing.
Reviewed by trentreid-18 / 10
Passionate Killing in a Dream
Fascinating both in terms of its structural approach to genre, subversive political themes, and how it obliquely reflects the intensely personal lives of the director/writer and star. Seberg's still then-husband directs her in some tightly scripted and intimate scenes regarding themes of infidelity. And this while such issues and an unplanned pregnancy by another man became public thanks to politically motivated interference by the FBI.
There are clear influences from Jean-Pierre Melville and Godard, with a pop art approach to American gangster iconography. The Brad KILLian anti-hero being reminiscent of Lemmy Caution, or even Caine's Carter in a manner. The heroin-busting plot is cursory, but Gary's slyly scripted dialogue contains radical subtext and some hilariously overt depictions of native insurgency, with Afghani Sufis and a kid nicknamed Che Guevara.
Gary shoots some early night scenes with Seberg in dark clothing, accentuating her beautiful profile and bright hair as if floating in space. Chiaroscuro lighting returns later in the film, but there are also interesting sequences of filmed executions being repeated for thematic emphasis. Aldo Sambrell's familiar genre presence is also used to great effect, despite it being not much more than an extended cameo and glorious execution.
There is also an insane pop art musical interlude that cuts between the heroin dealers discussing canine-human pornography and dealing to children with scenes of Seberg and Boyd engaging in a strangely negotiated coupling of their own. All of which is scored by none other than Memphis Slim on piano, giving a bluesy vocal rendition of the theme song that contrasts well with Edda Dell'Orso and Doris Troy's.
It isn't until the likes of Johnnie To, John Woo, Tarantino and of course Scorsese that we would see genre played with in quite the same masterful manner and with such witty layers. One need only watch James Mason's dying visions of machine-gunned, undead gangsters, Sufi-leaping heavenward to understand that what they are watching is not a typical formulaic genre entry.
Reviewed by clanciai10 / 10
Romain Gary's fantastic film script
An extremely remarkable feature, partly because of Romain Gary's script, the husband of Jean Seberg, which does not appear from the information. This multi-award winner writer (of for instance *The Roots of Heaven* (directed by John Huston with Errol Flynn) shot himself December 2nd 1980 one year after the suicide of his wife Jean Seberg, who was hounded to death by the FBI for no valid reason at all. This film was maybe their last major collaboration, and the script (the story of the film) is ingenious, James Mason in the final *ballet* scene seeing his worst nightmare come true. Romain Gary was a survivor of the Holocaust, which is touchingly described in his autobiography "Promise at Dawn", perhaps the most brilliant and moving epic of a mother ever written, in which every word is true.