Mumblecore, a relatively new, ultra low-budget cinéma vérité movement in the States, is as maligned as it is praised. Some claim that the movement is deliberately ignorant of its predecessors and contrives the guilelessness of neorealism, while others hail it as a return to true independent cinema. This reviewer is diplomatically ambivalent – the concept is interesting, but there is a definite overreliance on the supposedly inherent charm of the characters and their interactions. But no matter what one’s angle on this loose alliance of indie filmmakers, there is a film for everyone, and after much searching, I believe I’ve found mine.
The Pleasure Of Being Robbed follows playful gamine Eléonore, looking like a jagged version of Hilary Swank, as she indiscriminately thieves her way around Manhattan. We are never informed of her motives, and for the most part her delinquency is made to seem completely inconsequential. One evening, with the help of her friend Josh, Eléonore breaks into a car and soon finds herself at the wheel on her very first drive. Having taken Josh back to his pad in Boston, Eléonore rides the car back to NYC for another day of frivolity, even with new obstacles in place.
All things considered, the film doesn’t proffer much in the way of cinematic expression, and the 68-minute running time means that it is easily forgotten. However, there seems to be no cine-agenda here (its transparent nouvelle vague pretences notwithstanding), and the film succeeds in being an entertaining sliver of uncomplicated escapism.