This feels like such a deeply personal debut feature and is all the better for it really. The film is ostensibly about a burglary gone wrong as 3 members of a struggling post-punk band attempt to rob instruments from a music store and the crime escalates to murder. But gradually the film morphs into something more. It continues throughout to play with Dostoevsky-esque ideas of guilt and how people respond to. But it also ends up becoming a coming-of-age tale of sorts as these young characters are forced to confront adulthood and we see the band-members gradually drift away from one another and even actively turn their backs on success and recognition.
Assayas plays around with a lot of things visually here and while it could easily seem showy or at least self-conscious, I loved how the whole thing has this dynamism that works perfectly with the post-punk music that’s used in the film. The entire thing is shot in the darkest hues possible and him and his cinematographer apparently used a silver-retention process to drain even more color off the images. Already, one can see the emergence of the tracking shots (as he flits across characters in a room) that are so beautifully used in Summer Hours.
I was also surprised to see that his interest in viewing the world as a smaller, connected place is already visible at this stage. The short I watched prior to this (Laissé inachevé à Tokyo) was shot in Japan and here again, the characters travel from Paris to London and finally to NY. I was less surprised by how much the film seems influenced by music. Seems natural for a young filmmaker. The whole film has Ian Curtis looming over it.
Really looking forward to more.