Thursday, February 23, 2006

Daybreak (1939)

He loves her, she has secrets... This is my care face.

Genre: Drama Crime Thriller (France)

Starring: Jean Gabin (Grisbi; The Grand Illusion), Jacqueline Laurent

Directed By: Marcel Carné

Overview: A man stumbles out of an apartment, shot to death. Overnight, the murderer locks himself away from the law, contemplating the reasons behind the crime, while police wear down his defenses.

Acting: The acting, I suppose, was the best part. They didn't stumble over lines, they weren't overly melodramatic (except for the delirium scene, and that was intentional), but when you have so little to work with, you can't help but be dragged down by the rest. I've always found French film to be foppish, and this did nothing to help deter me away from that belief.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: Let's blame a lot on the quality of the tape. Let's also explain how unimaginative every set was, how the only interesting shot was looking down a tenement stairwell, and how France in 1939 was all around tacky in costume, art and architecture. Not only was this so boring that I was counting down the minutes constantly, but I was genuinely troubled by the degree of boredom that crept into me like a plague!
Rating: 2

Script: The sound quality made it almost impossible to follow these people. The 'English Subtitles' were lazy overviews of the actual dialogue that took place. One whole important scene was without subtitles at all. That aside (luckilly I'm French), the story was without drama, and such a bland recounting of professions of love and observations of others that you can tell this was early cinema, because no one today would dare use such common, everyday writing such as this tripe drivel. Boring!
Rating: 2

Plot: The story is a recounting of a murder motive. What gets me is that the man with the gun shoots through his door at cops, then for the rest of the night they try to capture and / or kill him, by shooting his lock (but are foiled by the DRESSER he puts in front of the door?!) or taking pop shots through his window. What a joke! As for the story itself: Boy meets girl, Girl has a past, Boy is jealous, boy shoots ex-lover. Who cares? Unoriginal and twistless.
Rating: 3

Mood: The mood of this one was all jealous impassioned rage and complicated love. What a crock of bull. This sentimental dolt is so jealous that he lets his passions run away with him and drive him to kill. Sorry, but I'm not buying your passionate fate. Get a brain in your head, Eurotrash! If all of France acted like this, it's no wonder the Germans wandered in so easily, everyone engrossed in love triangles while cops were spending 8 hours to break into a man's bachelor apartment...
Rating: 3

Jean Gabin, considered one of the better French actors... Ugh, he should have joined the Resistance instead

Overall Rating: 32% (Let This One Stay Broken)

Aftertaste: This was one of the films in my grand tome called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. This was only available at the Public Library, and the version I saw was old and messed up. I'm starting to wonder if it's really worth chasing around these 'must see' classics. Perhaps the reason these films aren't on DVD, or even easily accessible around town, is because they're not as good as some gang of critics claim... Totally terrible film. Ick. Spit.