Détective (1985) Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
There seems to be a theme with the last few movies featured on My Lawyer Will Call Your Lawyer. Yes another cops and robbers picture. Here is yet another film about detection and solving cases. Or, if we take into account the amount of scenes in Détective where very young ladies lay around just wearing skimpy underpants, perhaps exposure is the most apt description.
Godard's Détective is possibly the last real conventional picture he made. I mean conventional in the sense that it has a relatively clear narrative and a plot. The plot is basic : two detectives try to find clues to an unsolved murder and stumble upon a boxing manager's attempt to pay off the mob and money he owes to an old lover and her husband. The many books that clutter the scenes inform a lot of the characters. This has a similar playfulness to Godard's early pictures and some great funny lines. That makes the film sound more straightforward than it really is. At some point, you do wonder what the hell is going on.
As with a lot of later Godard the actor credits and screen titles appear a good half an hour into the picture. Johnny Hallyday is great as the boxer's manager and Nathalie Baye delivers as the love interest who can't decide which man she really wants. The ridiculous shoot out at the end feels like a way of wrapping things up as Godard seems to grow bored of the whole thing.Visually the film offers very little, as if Godard is tired and just wants to let the talking heads deliver their lines.
This being Godard, on the plus side Détective still offers a weirder take on the noir genre. The negative is a feeling that Godard has fallen out of love with this type of film making, although Détective never feels like a piece of hack work. Godard dedicates the film to John Cassavetes, Edgar G. Ulmer and Clint Eastwood. This is some concession from Godard of what he was trying to achieve with Détective. By no means a great film, but still an interesting one.