The Key Fits, But It Won't Turn: The Pleasure of Being Robbed (2008)

Low-budget independent cinema has lead to the emergence of a genre known as mumblecorp.  This film style is synonymous with faint dialogue, choppy editing and super obscure indie music.  Joshua Safdie's 16 mm independent film The Pleasure of Being Robbed is a mumblecorp film in everything but name.  The editing is an amalgamation of famous moments from other movies and obviously borrows quite heavily from Woody Allen and Richard Linklater.  It clocks in at just over an hour and leaves the viewer feeling as though they have watched nothing more than an experimental student film.  The film was enjoyable, but everything shown has been done before and with much better results.

The film purposefully avoids a plot, in order to allow for the character of Eleonore (Eleonore Hendricks) to move freely throughout New York and Boston partaking in kleptomania.  She meets everything from an amateur ping-pong player to a seemingly jobless friend who helps teach her to drive a stolen car.  Beyond this very little occurs and Eleonore is left to realize that her criminal ways will result in her own entrapment, a scene which occurs quite beautifully in the Central Park Zoo.

Sadly, this film reeks of trust-fund hipster pretension, as all of the characters seem to exist in a world where their actions have no financial or legal consequence.  Eleonore steals simply for the fix and attempts to explain to one woman that she only wants to look through her purse.  The film appears to be making a statement about poverty and desire, yet the people shown all drive a Volvo and afford large collections of music for their apartments.  I can only feel that this film falls into the "Stuff That White People Like" category, but fails to show that those same individuals understand poverty or the true experiences of a troubled life.

This film is not awful by any means, but simply does not deliver.  Its biggest redemption comes in the cinematography, but most of that can be directly linked to the use of 16mm as a medium.  I cannot recommend this movie; instead, I would suggest checking out  Gus Van Sant's Mala Noche for a brilliant independent student film, it is leaps and bounds more enjoyable.

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