The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

BREATHLESS (1983) *** ½

You know every film snob out there always goes on and on about the French New Wave and how great Jean-Luc Godard is and all that.  Frankly, I just don’t get it, man.  I mean the original Breathless is just a dull piece of poop.  This remake on the other hand is pretty fucking awesome.  I know you aren’t supposed to like the remake more than the original, but this movie, like A Fistful of Dollars and John Carpenter’s The Thing before it, outdoes it’s predecessor in every way. 


Honestly, this is the only movie I can think of in which Richard Gere is just flat out amazing.  Sure, he’s been in tons of stuff, but usually as Richard Gere.  This is Richard Gere, raw.  This was long before he started being all buddy-buddy with the Dali Llama.  This is Richard Gere, acting like a goddamn lunatic.  Seriously, he’s always twitching, moving around, talking to himself, singing, dancing, whipping his dick out, and talking like a Mexican for no good reason.  It’s as if Richard said, “Hey look I know my career is going to suck big time so I might as well just cram everything into this one performance.”


The plot is the inverse of the original.  Instead of a French hoodlum romancing an American girl, it’s an American thief romancing a French chick.  Basically Gere plays a guy who’s obsessed with Jerry Lee Lewis and Silver Surfer comics who accidentally kills a cop and goes on the lam in LA.  He really should go to Mexico to hide out, but he refuses to go unless his Frenchy broad Valerie Kaprisky goes with him.  Even though she’s about as dumb as a box of crackers, Gere still wants her to come with him because of her habitual nakedness.  


The thing I love about Breathless is that Gere’s character is so out there that you never know what he’ll do next.  He’s just one crazy motherfucker.  Plus, he likes all the stuff I do, namely rock n’ roll, comic books and naked chicks, so he’s good people.  You get a feeling that he didn’t want to get typecast as the “romantic lead” so he just when fucking crazy.  I admire that.  He said, “You know what, they’re already paying me a truck load of cash for this movie, I might as well act like a goddamn maniac, talk like a Mexican every chance I get, and scream Jerry Lee Lewis lyrics at the top of my lungs.  Besides, I get to see Valerie Kaprisky naked a lot, so why not?”


Admittedly, Kaprisky is the weak link in the movie.  Her grating accent and look of perpetual boredom does not take away from the fact that she is one fucking hot French chick who likes to get naked a lot.  Respect.


Director Jim McBride bathes the movie in a seedy LA scumbag glow that’s genuinely winning.  The funky nightclubs, dingy back alleys and half empty movie theaters are a perfect milieu for Gere’s antics.  I also liked the way that he paralleled Gere’s predicament with that of the Silver Surfer.  Remember, this movie came out long before the mega-hit superhero movies of today, so seeing the Surfer featured so prominently in the film is a real treat for a fan of the comic like me.  


The flick is superb in almost everyway; it’s just a shame I have to knock a half a star off for featuring the most gratuitous cock shot of any movie ever made.  Seriously, if you are a man and you are taking a shower, do you just turn to the camera and shake your schlong uncontrollably for no good reason?  Didn’t think so.  I didn’t need to see Richard’s dick, so it’s only getting *** ½; otherwise it might have been Top Ten of ’83 material.  Don’t let Gere’s pee-pee stop you from checking the flick out though as the man is clearly at the top of his game, acting wise. 


He also gets some fucking great lines like, “Don’t take a shower.  I want us to smell like we’ve been fucking!” and “The moolah is in the coolah!”  My favorite line though came from cop John P. (Death Wish 4) Ryan who says, “Don’t F-U-C-K with the LAPD!”

Tags: action, b, remake
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