Shoot the Piano Player

Shoot the Piano Player ★★★

For me, it is hard to separate this film from the Truffaut to come.

This is an impressive work in its own right - though with some issues vis-à-vis the presentation of women - it just feels off by comparison. Though, a lot of the expression of the film feels like Truffaut: an improvisational messiness and a solid undercurrent of pathos and humanism.

The actual narrative of the film feels more in line with the work of Godard and Melville, some of the direction of it feeling like a looser Melville. This is a shame when the sharpness of Melville is his key joy and what makes his crime films so stylish. The narrative here is not as fitting to a looser approach, and the film never really finds the fun that Truffaut often slyly gleans out of his works.

This is still an impressive crime film full of really creative flourishes that shows such skill. The core story is interesting and so much here works really well. It just feels like Truffaut not quite being himself, or not being the himself I love. It is an unfair accusation to throw at a film that works on its own, but I cannot remove myself - and my wider experience with a filmmaker - from my viewing.

Don't shoot me, I'm just the critic.

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