The Devil, Probably

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The Devil, Probably
Antoine Monnier, second from right, in The Devil, Probably

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.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

By: Joshua Rothkopf

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Release details

Release date: Friday April 7 1978
Duration: 95 mins

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