Review: ‘The Pleasure of Being Robbed’

Few ticketbuyers will take joy in "The Pleasure of Being Robbed," Joshua Safdie's pranksterish New York indie portrait of a deeply unsympathetic young distaff hustler.

Few ticketbuyers will take joy in “The Pleasure of Being Robbed,” Joshua Safdie’s pranksterish New York indie portrait of a deeply unsympathetic young distaff hustler. Vaguely French New Wave-inspired vision of urban delinquency got a Cannes Directors’ Fortnight slot and subsequent IFC Films pickup. But the roughly hourlong film, shot in 16mm, is sub-mumblecore, with sound so lo-fi, it’s nearly no-fi. Some fests will get “Robbed,” but streetwise exhibs should keep their pocketbooks zipped.

Charmless, unclearly motivated protag Eleonore (co-writer Eleonore Hendricks) is introduced conning a stranger before stealing a girl’s kittens and puppy, then a parked Volvo as scruffy hipster acquaintance Josh (Safdie) momentarily steers the sputtering narrative north to Boston. Aforementioned animals remain offputtingly MIA as Eleonore shows relative concern for a Bronx zoo “polar bear” played in absurd costume by co-producer Sam Lisenco. A minor character named in credits as “Hello Beautiful/Handsome Day Maker” is played by an actor known simply as “Batman.” New York location shooting appears aptly purloined, but tech accomplishments, with muffled dialogue and fuzzy imagery, are borderline appalling even by the old-school DIY standards to which the pic pretentiously aspires.

The Pleasure of Being Robbed


An IFC Films release of a Red Bucket Films production. (International sales: Visit Films, New York.) Produced by Brett Jutkiewicz, Zachary Treitz, Sam Lisenco, Joshua Safdie, Alex Orlovsky. Executive producers, Andy Spade, Casey Neistat. Directed by Joshua Safdie. Screenplay, Safdie, Eleonore Hendricks, from a story by Andy Spade, Anthony Sperduti, Safdie.


Camera (color, 16mm), Brett Jutkiewicz, Safdie; editors, Jutkiewicz, Safdie, Benny Safdie. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 20, 2008. (Also in SXSW Film Festival.) Running time: 68 MIN.


Eleonore Hendricks, Joshua Safdie, Wayne Chin, Jordan Zaldez, Jerry Damons, Dawn Glickman, Sam Lisenco, Batman.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety