A return to critical and commercial favour for Godard, Detective entertainingly meshes the director's experimental bent with his fondness for the noir thrillers of the 1940's. Set amidst the confines of a decaying Parisian hotel, Detective is set in motion when miserably married couple Francoise and Emile attempt to collect a debt from a mob-plagued boxing manager, the mischievously named Jim Fox Warner. Meanwhile, house detective Laurent Terzieff tries to solve an old murder case.
An Entry Point Into Godard's Second Wave
- Detective review by MN
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Detective, playfully deconstructs genre conventions of 40s and 50s crime dramas, standing out as a fantastic piece of criticism-within-a-film. The characters search for clues, but the crime remains unresolved, and the film asks us not to guess the killer’s identity, but to make sense of what's happening by following the characters thoughts. We see Godard’s usual fixation with the limits of language, literature and film, in a presentation that provides a challenge to those more accustomed to play-by-numbers who-dunnits. The characters speeches and monologues are wild and chaotic, hard to keep up with but constantly riveting, albeit an unconventional way with the film using its lack of action to focus almost entirely on the human side of the police procedural. No doubt, dyed-in-the-wool Godard fans will get more out of it than anybody else, so, if nothing else, it's a great entry-point into his second wave of filmmaking.