314. Pickpocket

Robert Bresson’s PICKPOCKET tells the story of a young petty thief who believes himself above the law. He tries to live outside of society and away from the law’s grasp, and doesn’t realize that what he actually seeks is redemption. If that premise sounds familiar to you, then perhaps you’ve also recently read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. It happens that I finished the novel only months before seeing this film, and was not expecting the two to be related. But Bresson’s film unfolds like a loose adaptation, working with a very different setup but trading in the same themes of isolation, sin, and eventual grace. The style is sparse and unsentimental, almost as disconnected as the protagonist himself. But the shining moments are the actual scenes of pickpocketing, beautifully filmed and choreographed like a particularly suspenseful ballet.



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