The Devil Probably

The Devil Probably


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

If this feels dated, it is because students are less likely to kill themselves for aesthetic or political reasons any more. Robert Bresson returns to the era of pale-and-interesting young men, who agonise over the state of the world. "My illness is seeing too clearly," Charles (Antoine Monnier), the P&I protagonist, says. RD Laing might have written the script.

It begins with reports of Charles' death - was it suicide, or murder? - and then backtracks to investigate the whys and wherefores. As with so much of Bresson's work, feelings are internalised and Charles appears like a zombie much of the time, incapable of emotional response, looking anguished in a beautiful, unreachable way.

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The atmosphere of languid role playing, overlaid with a suggestion of promiscuity, seems to float in mist. Charles' journey to the last day of his life has no purpose other than self-discovery. Existence demands an answer - to be or not to be? Since disappointment lurks in the dark spaces, what good is passion? In the end, shall be the beginning? Er... probably.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The life of a nihilistic young man.
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EIFF 1999

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