This has to be seen as the spiritual predecessor to Kill Bill, even if Tarantino insists he’s never seen it. The overall plot is just too similar, though Tarantino made far superior films. (I suppose it’s also possible someone just told him the plot, or he read the novel.
Unfortunately I watched the dubbed version so there’s no telling what I missed. Anyway…
Truffaut has long admitted that he didn’t do what he wanted to do with this film. Apparently there were long discussions with the cinematographer (a frequent collaborator) about how to film the shots (as they were working, together, in colour for the first time). There are rumours that Moreau herself actually directed the actors with their line reading and blocking. Not being a Truffaut fan, I don’t know that I am concerned too much with the idea that Truffaut didn’t exert his vision on this film enough. I’m not sure the film suffers from its performances so much as it suffers from its plot.
The source material is the root of the problem as to why this is not a great movie, I think. The story is compelling obviously (it’s become a bit of a trope now) but it’s the details that are problematic.
The way the bride’s husband is killed is rather ridiculous and stupid but, I guess I could conceive of an accident happening. What’s far harder to believe is the idea that these five men all vaguely recognize her though they either never saw her or barely saw her when one of them killed her groom. Why even pretend this? It’s really bizarre.
Because of the kind of laughable details of the plot, then, a lot of the rest of the movie falters as a result. Maybe the line readings aren’t ideal (it’s harder to tell when the lines are all dubbed) and maybe it could have been shot better, but my problem was always with this “Oh, I have a vague sense of seeing you before from that one time a guy I barely knew shot your husband and I ran away.”
All that being said, I think the film is kind of iconic at this point and some of it works quite well (such as the wedding march being used in an extremely darkly comic way).
6/10 worth seeing out of historical interest, anyway.