Targets ★★★★

Split on this in a big way- on one hand, it's a great movie. An insanely accomplished debut feature, with a pair of incredible lead performances coming from one end at the end of a long career and the other at the beginning of a short one. On the other hand... it's almost too accomplished. Bogdanovich directs this with such fully-formed style that I find it almost suffocated in artifice, which would be thematically appropriate if it ever let up, but no- this is just what the movie is like. Similar to my gripes with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, this is almost too stylish, too good to reach me beyond the surface level- technically and performance-wise, this is a stupendous movie. Emotionally, I'm not so sure. It tries its hand at a clever bit of metafiction, which, while successful in that it lands, doesn't really manage to break through my constant awareness that I'm watching a movie. A very good movie, but a movie nonetheless. The constant probes this sends out to breach the fourth wall, to get under my skin as a person rather than simply a viewer... well, they seem to disintegrate on contact. As technically satisfying as Targets is, I can't say I walked away with much of a lasting impression. Interested in seeing what Bogdanovich does with the (very funny, at least theatrically) inward-looking metatext of Noises Off, because if this is any indication, his direction makes the screen too damn thick for him to gaze out.

Still, I ain't kidding. It really is a good movie.

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