By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
So, this may make me a movie heretic, but my overriding reaction to Francois Truffaut after four films is… “Eh.”
Don’t even get me started on Godard.
Even his staunchest proponents, though, would probably describe The Last Metro as one of his most “Eh” efforts. It’s about a French theater-goer (Catherine Deneuve) simultaneously trying to hide her Jewish husband (Heinz Bennett) from the Nazis and keep her theater running. A brash young actor (Gerard Depardieu) may prove an asset on both fronts.
This is a slightly above competently directed, acted, designed, and written film. Everything just sneaks across the line of “good”. If this sounds like damning with faint praise, it is. The Last Metro is good, but with the talent involved it should’ve been more than that.
Although, Jean-Louis Richard does play a slimy bastard like a boss.
What really disappoints me is that Truffaut’s direction finally shows some life at the end, when eh rushes the plot forward in time, broadening the scope of the film and introducing the film’s first real humor (no Depardieu’s horndogging doesn’t cut it). If only the whole film could’ve had that energy.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t. A more distinguished critic trying to cover his ass as explain why his head nodded a couple times may call it “meditative”, or “mannered”, but let’s just call a spade a spade and say “boring.”
The acting is also surprisingly erratic for such a “classic”. Deneuve is great as always, and Depardieu does well, but man, Bennett thinks he’s in Dallas or something and many of the supporting characters are similarly over the top.
When Deneuve clocks him with a block of wood, I clapped.
There are lots of other issues I had with the movie, but this wasn’t really five or six beers worth of bad.
– Why make two characters homosexuals, state your theme is “all intolerance”, then not develop that at all? That’s not a theme, that’s a reference.
– This is one of the most pandering, underdeveloped love triangles I’ve ever seen. Deneuve basically just decides to cheat on her husband out of the blue, with zero setup or motivation. Sure, it makes for a funny fakeout in the end, but that appears to be the ONLY reason it exists
– Freeze frame ending? Uggghhhh…
Fuck it, I changed my mind.
There are much worse movies out there, but most of those don’t get called classics. It’ll probably put your kid to sleep if you want, I guess.
Take a Drink: whenever someone says “juif” (Jew)
Take a Drink: every time Depardieu hits on somebody
Take a Drink: whenever the privations of war become evident
Do a Shot: when Daxiat acts like the Scum of the Earth