Detective | Chicago Reader

Detective

95 minutes

Jean-Luc Godard's 1985 deconstruction of film noir has the lightness and comic zip of some of his 60s features, though the mix of elements isn't quite as rich. The action is largely restricted to a Parisian hotel, where house detective Laurent Terzieff and his skulking assistant Jean-Pierre LĂ©aud make a halfhearted attempt to solve a two-year-old murder; fight promoter Johnny Hallyday tries to train his new discovery on a minimal budget; married couple Nathalie Baye and Claude Brasseur struggle to work out the kinks in their relationship; and Mafia chieftain Alain Cuny discusses philosophy with a tiny French schoolgirl. The finely layered Dolby sound track is full of such wonderfully Godardian experiments as moving the background score to the foreground while the voices cower beneath blasts of Schubert, Wagner, and Ornette Coleman. In French with subtitles.

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