PG¦ Blu-ray, DVD

Unlike the sleight of hand of a magician, the pickpocket is far less theatrical. The trick is to remove an item of value – a watch say, or a wallet – without its owner, or anyone else for that matter, knowing.

The subject matter was so fascinating to renowned French director Robert Bresson, that his film Pickpocket was his first film he wrote himself, instead of from adapting a script from an existing text.

The result is this uncompromising examination of a life of a Parisian thief.

boom reviews Pickpocket
All I said was that she smelled like her mother - jeesh.

Spending the day at the races is Michel (Martin LaSalle), but he’s not interested in seeing any horses race. Yes he’s there for money, but not to win it, to steal it. Despite being somewhat of an intellectual, Michel hasn’t had the breaks as far as a career is concerned, so has turned to picking pockets to make a fast franc, especially as he has an ailing mother.

Despite perfecting his illegal trade, and teaming up with others, there’s always the feeling of the law looking over your shoulder, ready to pounce. As the chances are, one day, he’ll pick the wrong pocket...

boom reviews Pickpocket
If I look intent at this paper, they may not realise it was I that farted.

Released in 1959, Bresson’s film is still held in high regard as being one of the best examples of minimalist cinema. And it’s easy to see why. If the acting comes across as stiff and static, it is, as his main performers have often never acted before, such as French-Uruguayan Lasalle, making his acting debut in the lead role.

He’s also very sparse with using a soundtrack, instead choosing to rely mostly on ambient sound. This also gives the film a documentary, fly-on-the-wall feeling, with its naturalistic approach as we follow Michel through the streets of Paris.

There’s also a hint of film noir too, with the main protagonist delivering a voice-over throughout, adding his own narrative to his thieving ways.

It’s a style that has since been admired and adopted by the likes of Paul Schrader, who has taken various elements and used them throughout his work, with his screenplay for Scorsese’s Taxi Driver being a notable example.

It’s certainly a film of its time, showing off Parisian life, the sights and fashions of the period in all its elegant glory.

And it’s at its best when Bresson concentrates on the act itself, the sleight of hand that’s necessary to get the job done, which he shoots with great aplomb.

Now presented in 4K for the big screen, and soon to be home release, there’s never been a better time to experience Pickpocket, in all its thieving glory.

we give this three out of five