Emile Chenal and his wife, Françoise, lean on boxing manager Jim Fox Warner to cough up a considerable sum of money that he owes them, with both the police and the mob circling the situation. In the same hotel, Inspector Neveu looks into a murder that took place there years before.
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A playful, self-reflexive discourse on the role between the viewer & the viewed, where the audience becomes the figurative 'detective', attempting to unpack the machinations of a seemingly generic gangster movie that acts as a smokescreen to Godard's more semiotic intentions. The three investigators are modelled on characters from Shakespeare's The Tempest, exiled in a Parisian hotel room, lost in a storm of images.
A real lowpoint for Godard. I found the plot to be cumbersome and dull and the film lacking any real focus. I had read that this is one of his better later career works, but after watching it I either find that hard to believe, or disheartening, as it makes me not want to check out others. Maybe I should stick with his classics. 2 stars
One of JLG's key films. A movie that creates movies within movies. This film offers the POV of the 'detective': JLG himself. As characters and plot fragments from Cinema's past glide through and between characters/scenes, disrupting, yet affecting the narrative streams that become 'Cinema' in the viewer's (JLG's) mind. Brilliant, but best consumed with fragmented viewings for non-cinephiles. Watching TCM helps, btw.
Diverse hard boiled characters roam a nondescript cinemascape playing their parts but being from different plots, action and reaction seldom mesh and yet at the same time, strangely they do creating something completely new and completely outside of them. "Filled with cinematic and literary references, populated by existential refinements of various generic types" A mystery that is not a mystery but still fascinates
DETECTIVE maybe works as one of the most revolutionary movies ever. Just take a look at how director Jean-Luc Godard shoot his scenes and how he did the blocking. But it maybe also didn't work for some people (including me) who are expecting a movie that has something intriguing for its audience. The storytelling seems lack of focus. We will mostly see some characters doing something that its motivation left unknown.