Friday, May 5, 2017

Pablo D'Stair is back -- again -- this time with a genuine charmer titled M.r PICKPOCKET

Few things give TrustMovies more pleasure than, after disliking a filmmaker's movies one upon another, suddenly along comes a film that he loves. Finally, after covering two earlier movies by Pablo D'Stair (you can read those reviews here), I've found a film of this writer/director that seems to me a lovely, creative, charming and original work.

Titled M.r PICKPOCKET (and, yes, that misplaced punctuation is deliberate), this 55-minute movie tells the tale of two very young brothers determined to create a successful comic-book franchise based on their notion that their dad moonlights as a pickpocket on his off hours.

Unlike the two earlier films I've viewed via Mr. D'Stair (shown at left), this one is relatively short and very sweet. Because it features in the leading (and only) roles, D'Stair's two young sons, Lucien and Sebastien, you would be on the mark in calling it a family affair. Even better, the two kids are simply terrific in their roles, each one capturing a distinct character, along with that character's quirks, desires and attitude -- no small accomplishment for actors this young. The kids claim, in the film at least, to be "nearly" seven (Lucian) and nine (Sebastien).

What makes the movie work particularly well is D'Stair's clever dialog (get ready: It's often pretty profane), which posits that these two youngsters know so much about comic books -- their creation, distribution and marketing -- that they can somehow manage all this on their own. Much of the charm and humor arrives via this adult-level dialog coming out of the mouths of the kids -- and yet it is handled so well that it seems much more than mere stunt.

The two kids (that's Lucien, above, and Sebastien, below) seem to understand surprisingly well what they are saying, along with the feelings -- jealousy, paranoia, anger, frustration, hope and all the rest -- that lie behind the words. This is something that even a big-budget, kids-playing-adults movie like Bugsy Malone couldn't manage nearly as well. Those kids too often were "acting."  These two are more often "behaving."

The world of comic books is created skillfully, too. TrustMovies must admit he quit reading comics at a young age, and so no longer knows that much about this world (nor cares a hoot for something like Comic-Con). Yet listening to these kids ramble on, there seems to exist a lot of similarities here to the world of the fine art establishment, film-making and various other creative endeavors. It's like hearing folk from any of these fields talk about their life, work and art. So even if you are one of the comic-book-challenged, there will be plenty here to keep you interested.

Visually, too, the filmmaker is trying a few new tricks (thank god): He's using color now, and his camera even moves some. The constant, back-and-forth shots from one kid to the other do grow a bit tiresome, yet the filmmaker changes his angles and POV often enough to make things bounce and snap.

D'Stair has divided M.r Pickpocket into chapters with headings using a line of dialog devoted to a subject or theme under discussion. He has also divided the film by using audio from various sources: a Bob Dylan interview and scenes from an old film and TV series. There is undoubtedly a reason for this but I couldn't fathom it. And these "audios" do make the movie a bit longer than is needed. Still, this is only a mild distraction from the real meat here -- which is the nifty and constant dialog between the two brothers.

I liked M.r Pickpocket enough to watch it a second time and, given my tight viewing schedule, I think that's high praise. I hope the film garners D'Stair a lot more viewership. You can watch it free via Vimeo by clicking here for the full film (the password is said to be mrpickpocket, but I didn't seem to need it) or here to see the "teaser" credits trailer. You can also view the film via Amazon Digital here (Prime members can watch for free) or purchase it (on DVD) here.

Note: Because I wanted to catch all of the very funny and often incisive dialog, I turned on Vimeo's Closed Captioning option -- which worked great for maybe two-thirds of the film, and then suddenly ceased. But I'm told Vimeo is working on this. (Amazon gives you the English subtitles, too, and they work just fine.)

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