Shoot the Piano Player

Shoot the Piano Player ★★★★½

Tbh I don't get the mixed / decisive reaction many has towards Shoot the Pianist. Truffaut's second feature is like if a depressed French Pianist watch film noir movies and read pulp detective novels everyday then sleeps and had a dream about it and this is the dream. Sure it's not as personal as the 400 Blows or Day for Night but how can it be? This is just such a delightful little French New Wave flick with all the movements' charms, aesthetic, influence and innovation to boot. The story being told here is both stylish as it is genuinely captivating, it's very novel like in its structure, dialogue and how it uses flashbacks and storytelling. The characters are all interesting with very well done performances best example being that last shot which is just chilling, the set pieces are all highly imaginative undoubtedly Truffaut's most experimental work to date and his direction here bridges the gap between his two masterpieces from The 400 Blows to Jules and Jim very nicely. The score is effective and overall it's a very entertaining experience all around. Yes it's not as deep or thought provoking as his other works and there are surely better films to come out of the French New Wave but so what? I don't think its mean't to be as highly artistic or personal as something like again The 400 Blows, on the surface it's a very nice tribute to those film noirs and Hitchcock pictures Truffaut loved dearly but underneath theres genuinely a lot to unpack emotionally and cinematically and I would be lying if I didn't say by the end I was genuinely attached emotionally to these characters and their outcome. I think some of the negativity towards this film comes from expectations, certainly don't enter Shoot the Pianist expecting another 400 Blows or Jules and Jim especially, expect a light but highly effective French New Wave flick that at worst is a flawed but thrilling entertainment but at it's best a truly well yet still charmingly executed, emotionally resonant and exciting picture.

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