Mark Cunliffe 🌹’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hmm, there's a moment in this where Anna Karina's Parker substitute Paula Nelson confesses everything is 'double dutch' to her and I felt like, 'well, you and me both comrade'. But the following exchange was one I grasped completely:
"You shouldn't be scared. Fascism won't happen"
"On the contrary, it has to happen, and it will, like sailing boats, miniskirts and rock and roll. We've years of fighting ahead of us, often fighting within ourselves. That's why I am scared. Scared of being tired beforehand, scared of abandoning the fight"
Given that today, a tiny minority of Conservative scum secured an unabashed fascist his place as this country's newly (un)elected prime minister, whilst the left is riddled with backstabbing and false charges of anti-semitism to suit nefarious ends, it's an exchange that struck me as incredibly profound and close to home.
I referred to Karina as a Parker substitute because, yes - this is another adaptation of one of Richard Stark/Donald E. Westlake's Parker novels. It is however not only a very loose adaptation, but also an unofficial one; Godard didn't have the rights to adapt Westlake's novel the Jugger but did so anyway, making this the first Parker movie (it beat Point Blank to the big screen by something like eight months). Needless to say Westlake was not impressed by Godard's cheek and pursued a legal action that ensured Made in U.S.A was long unavailable in the country whose culture Godard's film was paying so much homage to.
Ostensibly an experiment by Godard to make a political film via the familiar confines of a genre movie (American hardboiled pulp noir - complete with that genre's key trope of the philosophical barman, here outfoxed by the philosophical meanderings of his patrons) this is a deliberately vague slice of nouvelle vague; beautiful to look at, bemusing to experience. I fear I will have to watch it again to truly appreciate it. When it comes to Godard, I'm right there when it comes to À bout de souffle and Une Femme est une femme, but I think he lost me somewhere around Alphaville.