Saturday, August 5, 2017

Something real

Last year (I think) I saw a movie called Rubber. Directed by a French musician named Quentin Dupieux, it was an ultra low budget but brainy monster movie parody about a tire that gains sentience and goes on a killing spree. Working in California with American actors, Dupieux retained his Frenchness as much as Alex Cox made an English punk movie with Repo Man.

This gave me fairly high hopes for one of his follow-ups, Reality. The film follows a few different strands. A French cameraman on an American cooking show wants to make a movie - which sounds terrible - but can only get it produced if he finds the perfect groan of pain. The host of the cooking show (Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder) suffers from an unexplained sudden rash. A little girl named Reality finds a videotape in the guts of a pig her father killed in the wild. These storylines impact each other over a few levels of, yes, reality.

My hopes weren't really met. Rubber worked like gangbusters because it had a set of genre conventions to play up and deconstruct, which Dupieux did by essentially going for the most slacker option whenever possible. Reality is obviously a surreal art movie from the start, which gives Dupieux more freedom than maybe he knows what to do with. That's not to say it doesn't have its moments. There were a few times when I laughed out loud, and the weirdness is sometimes fetching. But the energy dissipates after a while.


susan said...

While I understand your being intrigued by novel approaches to story telling I no longer have the patience for the avant-garde that I once did. Rubber sounds like a pretty trippy story but when I watched the trailer for Reality it just looked confusing and chaotic. However, I was glad to learn that Jon Heder has continued in his acting career.

You're right, though, that it can be difficult to find movies that tell interesting stories in new and refreshing ways. One very cool one we saw recently was a Spanish film called The Invisible Guest directed by Oriol Paulo. In it a wealthy businessman has been charged with the murder of his mistress when both of them are found in a locked hotel room (her dead and him wounded but not dead). The Spanish judicial system having its unique procedures, the defendant is comfortably ensconced in his own apartment when an investigating attorney hired by his law firm shows up at his door to go over the case. She who has never lost a case in thirty years puts the guy through his paces in an effort to get him ready for court. The film uses elements of Agatha Christie novels, such as the many twists of the plot, and also themes from Hitchcock epics for prolonged scenes filled with uncertainty and fear. It's definitely worth a watch if you happen to come across it in your travels.

Ben said...

The line between "trippy" and "imewasting" varies from person, and in fact can differ in the same person's tastes from time to time. This time out this movie me struck me as being on the wrong side of that line.

Heder's never really found another role that would showcase him like Napoleon Dynamite, but he keeps at it. Looking at his IBDB profile I saw a movie about Walt Disney where he plays Roy (Disney that is.)

The Invisible Guest sounds quite intersting. I'm sure I've never seen it, although I may have heard you destcibing it before. Seems to be very recent too, debuting just last year.