If you know nothing of the concentrated work of France’s Robert Bresson, it’s almost a crime to start here—like launching yourself, on the “expert” level, into the most boring, baguette-laden video game ever. That said, this movie has some merit to it, and it might be valuable for viewers accustomed to the shenanigans of Jason Biggs to get a dose of Bresson’s twentysomething rebels. Undeniably, The Devil, Probably has a new way of capturing discontent. From the start, a newspaper tells us about a suicide; then, there’s a revised headline. Now it’s murder. Cut to six months earlier, when a bunch of sullen, impossibly thin Parisians are lounging by the waterfront in a collective countercultural snarl.
Our hero is Charles (Antoine Monnier), lank of hair, blank of stare and accessorized with a floppy man-purse. He hates everything: the phony rebellion of “destructive” Situationists with their angry meetings, Christianity, environmentalism—even sex, it’s suggested. Charles is simply not into anything. Sympathetically, the movie charts his trajectory toward self-annihilation; but the film’s beauty (as with all Bresson) lies in its focus on simple details: the clicking of shoes in nondescript hallways, the fashion-spread-ready poses of sexy, ennui-laced youth. There’s a higher dimension here, not as clear as it is in the director’s Mouchette or A Man Escaped, but present just the same. Hold on to something, Bresson implies, or you may fall in love with boredom itself. See it for the mood.
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