Featuring a minimalist tour-de-force performance from Michel Piccoli in which the slightest intricacies of the performative reinforce and empower Marco Ferreri's outre construction, Dillinger is Dead is a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience, a film which is conducive to a multitude of interpretations and artistic readings. Taking place almost entirely in the confines of an affluent Industrial Designer's home, Dillinger Is Dead is deeply reliant on this central performance, one in which this character, played by Michel Piccoli, finds himself having the night to himself after he returns home to find his wife, bedridden with a sickness she needs to sleep off. What follows over the course of the film's 90 minute running time is an observational study of a man whose domesticated, cultured, curated life is uprooted by uncertainty, his methodical existence, one which is curated and shaped by his various systemic responsibilities - husband, employer, materialism -completely overthrown, at least for the night, due to his wife's illness. A film which finds the unease in such unadulterated freedom, Dillinger is Dead broods with a quiet sense of escalation, as the main protagonist becomes increasingly brazen and peculiar as the night progresses, more and more willing to embrace his spontaneous proclivities. The film feels on edge but never falls headfirst into absurdity or mayhem, the threat is enough, as Marco's Ferreri's film presents a complex allegory about the constraints of modernity, displaying in Piccoli a character who slowly and willingly breaks free from that various shackles of life which restrain his ambition,as the man finds himself thirsty to experience something more primal, something more alive than the various comforts of day-to-day, domesticated life. A challenging, fascinating work in which the filmmaker never quite reveals his own stance on the confrontational forces at place between the repressive nature of modernity and abject freedom of natural instinct/egoism, Dillinger is Dead is singular piece of art which provokes a calculated response from the watchful observer.
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