Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Quentin Dupieux.
Starring Gilles Lellouche, Anais Demoustier, Jean-Pascal Zadi, Oulaya Amamra.
Comedy, France, 80 minutes.

Reviewed as part of Glasgow FrightFest ‘23


There is weird cinema then there is the cinema of Quentin Dupieux. The prolific French director seems to delight in throwing odd cinematic curve balls at his audience. Although each film can be described as bizarre, the writer/director also known as electronic musician Mr Oizo, has never repeated himself in terms of storytelling, themes or concepts. From the psychic killer tyre of RUBBER, which delighted Glasgow FrightFest audiences back in 2010, to the hilarious rumination on aging that was INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE which played at last year’s London FrightFest to the same reception, Dupieux has a style that is instantly recognisable. Once again, the audience was rolling in delight and disbelief as his latest exercise in original ridiculousness kicked off this years Glasgow festival in great style.


This time around, Dupieux takes a stroll in the Tokusatsu genre. For those not in the know, think Power Rangers or Ultraman; shows and films which usually involved Japanese actors dressing up in masked costumes and fighting rubber suited monsters. A goofy and charming genre, it seems like an ideal fit for the French director’s surreal storytelling skills. At the heart of matters here are Tobacco Force, a blue suited band of helmeted heroes who use the powers of tobacco and the ill effects of smoking to tackle the forces of evil to spectacularly bloody effect. Consisting of middle-aged Benzene, Mercure, Ammoniaque and the lovelorn Nicotine who pines after their boss Didier who happens to be a rat who continuously drools green goo from his mouth. After battling a giant tortoise, Tobacco Force are ordered by Didier to visit a retreat for a team building exercise in the country before they take on the evil Lizardin.


The plot, if you can call it that, is little more than an excuse for Dupieux to string along the audience on a shaggy dog story. Actually, that should be several shaggy dog stories, as Tobacco Force tell each other “scary” stories around a makeshift camp fire that also provides a number of strangers, and a half cooked barracuda, to share even more stories that have absolutely nothing to do with anything. Thankfully these diversions are just as hilarious and bizarre as the group at the centre of it all. In turns the stories are scatological, gory, surprising and very funny in their own deadpan manner that somehow feels cohesive when all taken together here.


Dupieux makes films like nobody else right now, marching to his own makeshift rhythm. It may not be rhythm to everyone’s taste but for those who tune into it this is his most consistently funny film yet with its often-gruesome visuals tempered by its warm and daft nature. Is it the most original, gory and funniest superhero film ever made? Very possibly, and for that reason alone it is high time that Marvel Studios, if they had any sense, put him in charge and let him do whatever he wants with whoever he wants.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans