I haven't seen TGThief yet, though I'm looking forward to it.

I love Melville--actually, I think he is one of my three or four favorite directors. (Though that list expands the moment I think of limiting it).

The character of Bob le Flambeur is very
specific, one not seen that often in films these days. That is the character of a world-weary, self-made man, who is independent--one who fought on the side of the free french--whose criminal activity might be seen as skilled labor redistributing the spoils of capital, almost on the same order as the sabotage committed during the Resistance.

Though he is without ideology, he is not without honor. His scruples are what sets him apart and above the younger, more expressively neurotic crooks around him. And what is beautifully surprising about BTFlambeur is that the slow movement towards a tragic ending that seems part and parcel of Bob's fate, is subverted. It's kind of fantastical in a way, but in another way, you believe it. In this film, the cliche of cop and robber as friendly antagonists is meaningful.

It will interesting to see what Nolte does with this character, because if anyone should get a crack at playing a "Bob"-like role, it should be him. I think he may not play it as drily as the original "Bob" actor, but maybe that's also a matter of American vs. French style. In fact, maybe we'll see if "Bob" and other "homme dur" Melville protagonists are specifically French types, or if their salient internals can be extrapolated to a broader archetype. Hopefully, we'll get a performance from Nolte that shows us whether or not "Bob" and other Melville-"types" can only exist credibly after the specific historical context of post-world war II France.

He should be able to project a Bob that has some of the same scruples, but is of the post-micro war period. There's
a lot to look forward in that, because TGThief, like other interesting "re-makes," rests on the "dur-ability" of the "Bob" archetype walking and talking, existing in a world different from the one in which he was originally created.
- bunny 4-06-2003 10:35 pm

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