Basically a 'two hander' for the leads, this is the story of Gabor (Auteuil) the aging knife thrower, and Adele (Paradis) the seemingly luckless in love 'belle fille sur la pont'. Fate thrusts them together on a cold night in Paris as Adele stands on a bridge and contemplates ending it all in the dark waters below.When Gabor approaches her, he says "you look like a girl who's about to make a mistake"...and seals their fate together upon offering her a job a his human target, informing her that he recruits suicidal women because he wants to help them on their way!
What ensues is their journey together into a world that is suddenly on their side...where luck is an everyday phenomena at last instead of an elusive phantom. The premier film for the 2000 French Film Festival was one of those films that I felt I should like...that even had most of the ingredients of at least an 'above average' film...but just didn't have the payload I was looking for. For example - the opening scene in which we get some background on Adele's past. While the intention of the scene was clear, and the information provided helpful to the viewer to build up to the next moment of the film, the way in which it was done alienates it totally from the action of the film itself - how can it be contextualised?
Auteuil and Paradis are both quite fine actors - the knife throwing scenes were well executed and the sexual undertones shone clearly threw. And the dialogue between them is pacy and quite funny, delivered especially well by Auteuil. But outside of this, there was this constant feeling of there being very little in the way of emotional dynamics, which, although possibly a directorial choice, left the emotional landscape of the film far too flat.
It being shot in black and white meant there were some great images, and this certainly helped evoke the circus/freak show aspect of the world the main characters inhabited, and also the freakish nature of life itself. In the Director's notes for the film, Patrice says " I don't know why I made 'The girl on the bridge'. I just know I did it." I would encourage such sentiments to a degree - making films for the sake of film making is wonderful for the film makers...but in this case, not so wonderful for the audience who I almost feel are considered secondary to the action.Overall, a film with some strong moments...some good pictures to look at...but not entirely satisfying as a whole. (Paul Bugeja--filmnet.org.au)