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Amazing But True – Arrow Video FrightFest 2022 Review

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Incredible but true, 2022.

Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux.
With Alain Chabat, Léa Drucker, Benoît Magimel and Anaïs Demoustier.

SYNOPSIS:

Alain and Marie move into the suburban house of their dreams. But the real estate agent warned them: what’s in the basement could change their lives forever.

French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux’s industry of singularly weird movies certainly shows no signs of stopping. The first of the director’s two feature films released this year, Incredible but true is not among his finest works, but nonetheless sees him again using his trademark absurdism to poignantly explore the depths of the human soul.

This playful, straight-forward 74-minute adventure chronicles the boredom of a middle-aged suburban couple, Alain (Alain Chabat) and Marie (Léa Drucker), who, while preparing to buy a new home, discover a hidden feature most unexpected in the basement. It won’t be spoiled here, but needless to say, it forces Alain and Marie to reconsider the nature of their relationship and their very lives.

What initially appears to be a satire on the perils of home ownership quickly changes footing into an offbeat relationship drama fueled by a sting – and pungent funny – examining the ravages of time and the drastic measures one could take to combat the tide of nature.

It’s worth pointing out that it’s not as far-fetched as, say, Rubber Where mandibles — which revolved around a sentient tire and a giant fly, respectively — and ultimately perhaps Dupieux’s most accessible story to date. It is easy to imagine this as a black mirror episode with some stylistic and even tonal tweaks.

Still, Dupieux’s absurd tongue-in-cheek vibe went nowhere; he’s mastered the art of playing a long po-face setup to a jaw-dropping punchline, and once again proves he’s not afraid to go profoundly silly in the same breath. For example, a major subplot involves Alain’s boss, Gérard (Benoît Magimel), being outfitted with an electronic penis controlled by a phone app in order to satisfy his eternally horny young girlfriend Jeanne (Anaïs Demoustier).

Dupieux’s cast serves him well throughout, refusing to give any hint that they’re in on the joke even though, apparently, we know they are. Léa Drucker is particularly convincing in the role of anguished Marie; a woman torn between her marriage and a deep desire to better herself with the help of the magical basement.

It’s a tragicomedy that never forgets the inner humanity of its characters, as they struggle through the tumult of midlife crises while learning just how green the grass really is. ‘other side.

As usual for Dupieux, this is a majestic and restrained work from a cinematic perspective; the camerawork seems relatively straightforward but is certainly well composed, serving its purpose without distracting us from the weirdness of the story.

The film ends with a long, non-verbal montage in which various situations play out while backed by Jon Santo’s wonderfully offbeat musical score, and if it was a filmmaker other than Dupieux, you might wonder if the film’s third act was damaged in the lab and the surviving material had to be stitched together to form a meaningful collage. Somehow, as always, he makes such a potentially deflating denouement work.

There are certainly those who would like to see a longer, more fleshed-out version of this film’s delightful central premise, but Dupieux’s conciseness and restraint remain admirable; this thing ends and ends as soon as he has said all he wants.

Scintillating Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Shaun Munro – Follow me on Twitter for more cinematic rides.

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