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#249- Bob le Flambeur

Quick recap: Bob, a gambler, is almost broke- you guessed it- from gambling. Instead of bowing out gracefully, he decides to plan a heist to rob a casino.

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Fun (?) fact: Stanley Kubrick once said that he gave up doing crime films because of Bob le Flambeur.

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My thoughts: When I think of the genre ‘crime film’, I picture a bunch of hot guys in suits being all clever and flirty and through sometimes bumbling efforts, somehow end up pulling off the heist. Bob le Flambuer invented all that. Being French, however there is an undercurrent of sadness and a lingering feeling that even if the robbery does go through, it won’t change anything for anyone, so why bother, really?

So, this isn’t the most fun crime film I’ve watched, but it was definitely interesting to see such an American concept integrated with something so quintessentially European (in case you are keeping count, I’m pretty sure that’s the most pretentious thing I’ve written on this blog yet). The beginning of the film, as Bob describes Montemarté, reminded me so much of Lola or Cleo From 5 to 7. That makes sense because director Jean Melville is considered the father of French New Wave films. I loved the scenes with Bob interacting with his friends. He seemed so suave, it’s no wonder even the police loved him. Yet, there was this lingering sadness to him that I also liked. He wanted to pull off the heist, but not as a ‘screw you’ to society. Instead, he was doing it as a last ditch effort to find happiness.

The planning of the heist, including the gathering of the team, bored me the most. I couldn’t keep up with all of the men and their roles and it was clear to me early on that this wouldn’t end well. Bob, however, shouldered on, against everyone’s advice. I admire that, though. His insatiable urge to come out on top shielded him from logic, which is a very French thing to do. The end of the movie drew me back in, as Bob’s luck changed inside the casino. He was finally winning the hands and by the end, had won so much money that he completely forgot about the heist going on downstairs. The police were there, though, and by the time Bob remembered, he too had been rounded up and handcuffed. Being Bob, he managed to stay on top one last time as the casino staff shoveled in the massive amounts of money he had won. It was a very smart ending, to show Bob succeeding in the only way he truly cared about.

Final review: 4/5

Up next: The Crying Game

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