Monday, August 25, 2008

The Last Metro (Francois Truffaut, 1981) C

There's a scene in The Last Metro in which the character of Jean-Loup Cottins, a theatre director, is discussing with the Nazi sympathizing theatre critic Daxiat about his latest play, Disappearance, and Daxiat tells him, something to the effect of, "This wasn't your best work...I couldn't see any of your direction in it." It's funny, because the same could be said to Truffaut about this film. For me, the whole film just felt completely flat and seemed entirely predictable 15 minutes in. Catherine Deneuve, with her ice cold personality, was used to great effect here but I was completely flummoxed by the casting of Gerard Depardieu as the womanizing actor who does a little moonlighting for the resistance. Maybe it's just because I love the way Truffaut works with him, but I kept wondering how Jean-Pierre Leaud would have faired in the role. I'll admit that he would have probably gotten eaten alive by Deneuve-- it's hard not to with an actress as dominating and fierce as she is-- but those early scenes in which the character is trying to pick up women on the street and in the theatre seem almost written for Leaud in mind. Depardieu is fine in the role, I'll give him that. I just wasn't wowed by him or anything. Of the many Truffaut films I've seen, this is by far his weakest (and somewhat ironic since this was his last big hit in France and probably last widely known film). Truffaut on a bad day, however, is 10 times more interesting than most directors at their very best.

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