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Director Robert Bresson chose Uruguayan nonactor Martin LaSalle for his leading man in Pickpocket. LaSalle's inexperience works against the film for some viewers, though Bresson himself was satisfied because his star proved himself a quick study in the art of lifting wallets (a genuine pickpocket was engaged as "technical adviser"). Essentially, the story is a character study of a cocky young criminal who becomes so entranced by the act of picking pockets that he literally can't stop himself. The Bressonian technique of concentrating more on the mechanics of the plot than the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A picture so original in style that it sometimes seems downright peculiar."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"French director Robert Bresson used his nonactors only once and orchestrated every gesture and glance; the performances that resulted are both mesmerizing and suffused with mystery."
‑ Edward Karam, Entertainment Weekly
"This mysterious film composed of silence and emptiness accumulates extraordinary power, and unleashes it in a profoundly moving moment."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"It is, at base, about self-fulfilment and redemption through love -- a common enough idea in films. But this 1959 epic has seldom been equalled as a philosophical treatise on the subject."
‑ Derek Malcolm, Guardian
"An often interminable piece of work..."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"Robert Bresson made this short electrifying study in 1959; it's one of his greatest and purest films, full of hushed transgression and sudden grace."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Bresson's goals were deep; to sweep away the dross of expectation and viewing conventions by means of a purified cinema. At times in this thief's journal his visual discourse touches the sublime."
‑ , Time Out
"Pragmatic to the point of being almost mechanical, Pickpocket it is paradoxically saturated with soulfulness."
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"Even more than the deadpan anti-thesping, it's the virtuoso thievery sequences (movement, disguise, distraction) that really mesmerise."
‑ , Total Film
"Poetic seems too weak a word to sum up Pickpocket's extraordinary arc: that it achieves so much in so short a time (75 minutes) is almost other-worldly."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"Bresson choreographs the complex techniques of lifting wallets and watches with such precision that one seems to be watching a kind of surreptitious ballet."
‑ David Denby, New Yorker
"Ultimately inexplicable, this concentrated, elliptical, economical movie is an experience that never loses its strangeness."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"A marvel of poise and circumspect emotion from French auteur Robert Bresson."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"...the act of lifting a wallet from a man's jacket is a means to consider what the act of thievery swipes from the thief's soul."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"... sempre fascinante constatar como Bresson, com seu estilo emocionalmente seco e direto e sua insistência em performances rígidas, consegue criar personagens tão complexos e interessantes."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
More reviews for Pickpocket on Rotten Tomatoes