Francois Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player is one of Truffaut's most entertaining and affectionate tributes to the low-budget pulp crime genre, and of the comic films of Chaplin Chaplin and The Marx Brothers that he grew up adoring. It tells the simple story about a classical pianist, who tries to run away from his past after his wife's tragic suicide, and eventually ends up playing piano in a small Parisian dive. When his brother suddenly gets in trouble with bumbling gangsters, he inadvertently gets dragged back into the chaos and is forced to rejoin the life that he once fled. François Truffaut was one of the pioneers of The French New Wave movement which was considered a certain European art form during the late 50s and 60s. The style can be greatly seen in Shoot the Piano Player, whether it's the plot's use of flashbacks, the creative use of the camera iris, and Truffaut's sudden change of tone in the narrative, from comedy and then back to drama.
Jean-Luc Godard was much more revolutionary with his shocking technique of jump cuts and his radical political symbolism, but it's Truffaut's more complacent, touching and sentimental touches that seems to gain more power throughout the years and really explore the true nature of why we love going to the movies. Shoot the Piano Player was Truffaut's second film right after his directorial début The 400 Blows, but unfortunately Shoot the Piano Player wasn't as well received by its critics and public. A film journalist asked Truffaut if the film was more comic than tragic and Truffaut replied, "It's both. With Piano Player, I wanted to make women cry and men laugh." The one thing that is quite obvious about the film is Truffaut's love for American cinema and literature, and he wanted to make his very own homage to that genre. The themes in Shoot the Piano Player include all the themes that Truffaut loved so much like doomed romances, kidnappings, gangsters, murder, heists and the shy lead with a mysterious past who unfortunately must return to face it