Austin, TX | Alamo Drafthouse (South Lamar) | Fantastic Fest 2018
If someone had pitched me on a French, subtitled film from the director of Rubber I’d have probably watched another episode of Ozark instead. It’s not that I dislike any of those things (especially not the French), but they all can be uncomfortable. Balancing watching with reading, a director known for the absurdist and surreal, cultural differences in things like pacing and humor… these are barriers that push me away. But this is Fantastic Fest. A time where everything movie-related is welcomed… even more than that, it’s celebrated. So to hell with my druthers.
I’m so glad I ignored myself. After a nearly-naked conductor being tackled by police in a field, the movie started. I don’t know why it happened… but it broke the ice in a big way. For the next 45min, the movie stayed largely restrained. Literally. Locked by the confines of a 70’s era police station, the strong dialogue and character interactions pull the movie along at a steady clip. Let me reiterate, Benoît Poelvoorde (Le commissaire Buron) and Grégoire Ludig (Louis Fugain) are fantastic. But somewhere along the way, a root begins to grow. Recalled memories contain flashes of the present while increasingly blurring lines with reality. And then abruptly, it encompasses the film.
Recalled memories contain flashes of the present while increasingly blurring lines with reality. And then abruptly, it encompasses the film.
The climax of the film is… maybe unexpected. In retrospect, not entirely given the director. But in the moment it seems to upset a logical progression. Maybe our protaganist snapped… and maybe not?. Critics seem to agree that director Quentin Dupieux brings interesting layers that don’t always match and rarely add up to anything. This film is no exception. While I overall found it very enjoyable, I’m not sure there is anything to take away.
Should you watch this film? Probably. All of things I expected would affect my enjoyment of the film turned out be be non-issues. The biggest barrier to this film is resolution; if you’re fine with not having any, this film is worth a watch.
…and don’t tell my wife I’m watching Ozark without her.
Patrick is a frontend developer and 1/3 of the Master of One podcast. Making digital stuff is good, but he would rather meet new people and learn about them. When not sitting in front of a computer screen for work, he's still found sitting in front of a computer screen. Except for pickleball. This dude loves pickleball.