Toronto After Dark 2012: Wrong Review (Kirk Haviland)

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012

Wrong (2012)

Starring Jack Plotnick, Eric Judor, Alexis Dziena, William Fichtner, Steve Little and Regan Burns

Written and Directed by Quentin Dupieux

The infamous Quentin Dupieux, aka musician Mr Oizo, the director of the movie about a car tire on a killing spree ‘Rubber’, is back with his newest absurdist comedy ‘Wrong’. With Rubber being an extremely divisive film, and Dupieux’s penchant for the bizarre, I knew this would not just be simply a story of a man trying to find his lost dog. I also knew that this was likely to be the most loved and most hated film of this year’s Toronto After Dark lineup.

Dolph Springer (Plotnick) wakes up one morning to realize he has lost the love of his life, his dog, Paul. During his quest to get Paul (and his life) back, Dolph encounters a myriad of bizarre phenomena and people. Firemen apathetically ignore a fire, an alarm clock reads 7:60 AM, a pine-tree becomes a palm-tree, a pizza restaurant nymphomaniac, a jogging-addict neighbor in search of completeness, an opportunistic French-Mexican gardener, and an off-kilter pet detective. And with all this, if Dolph Springer has any chance of getting his dog back he has to listen and follow the lead of a guru of canine psychosis, Master Chang (Fichtner), who sports a mysteriously scarred face and even more mysterious intentions.

To say that Wrong is a sack full of fighting kittens crazy is an understatement. As expected, we pretty much get everything AND the kitchen sink thrown in here. Plotnick does some good work here, essentially playing the straight man for the majority of the film, as his hapless Dolph actually comes off loveable. His deconstruction of the absurdity of a fast food mascot is hilarious. Fichtner is, as always, a fascinating watch as he deftly maneuvers through the intricacies of his character and delivers a smart and engaging performance. Steve Little’s detective also ranks as a highlight. The plot and script are meandering at best, one thing you cannot accuse the film of is being predictable. The film’s plot makes so many twists and turns it is frankly sometimes hard to keep up. The surrealist manner of execution added to the unconventional script and mode of storytelling just adds more intrigue to the proceedings. Wrong is also a decidedly better shot, edited and looking film than Rubber was, showing that Dupieux is growing as a technical filmmaker more with each project.

Definitely not the type of film that will play equally for everyone, it will challenge the best of viewers and will turn off a lot of them, but the film will reward the people that stay with it and give it a chance. Despite its absurdity Wrong has a charm and charisma that are undeniable, and for that Wrong is a recommend.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

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Fantasia 2012 – Wrong Review (Matt Hodgson)

Fantasia Film Festival 2012

Wrong (2012)

Starring Jack Plotnick, Steve Little, Eric Judor, William Fichtner, and Alexis Dziena

Directed by Quentin Dupieux

MINOR SPOILERS

A week into Fantasia 2012 and I’ve seen a very wide sampling of what the word genre can mean. It can mean horror, bizarre comedy, Hong Kong action, and apparently it can also mean losing your dog. This year, losing your dog seems to be a whole sub-genre of its own. However, no film has tackled this new genre as well as the second offering by Quentin Dupieux, simply titled Wrong.

When we first enter the world of Dolph (Plotnick), the seemingly normal suburbanite in Wrong, we quickly lose any feeling of normalcy that we may have picked up from the green lawns or the painted white houses, when his alarm clock flips over from ‘7:59’ to ‘7:60’. It’s hard to tell if Dolph is used to this type of weirdness or if it is slowly pervading his world. The problem is that his mind is elsewhere, probably because of the the severe emotional distress he is experiencing because of the sudden disappearance of his beloved dog, Paul. Despite the mundane environments which Dolph traverses while trying to track down Paul, his journey is nothing short of bizarre.

I’m not sure if it was an influence of Dupieux, but Wrong seems to channel the absurdity and comedy of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. The strange and the weird are often used in the name of comedy, but rarely with success. It seems like it takes a keen eye and a true talent to mix the right amount of absurdity with the everyday, too much is overkill, and too little is, well, everyday. Dupieux has matched Adams, leaving the audience eager to discover what else might be ‘wrong’ with Dolph’s world. Office cubicles experiencing torrential downpours, morphing palm trees, and counter-intuitive pizza logos, the world of Wrong could not be more pleasantly strange.

The performances found within also help to add layers of the abnormal to the already eccentric world of Wrong. Plotnick manages to constantly look confused, matching the feeling of everyone in the audience. However, he never becomes tiresome, managing to remain likeable despite what we may learn about his character. Every performance that I remember from the film was strong, although I have to say my favourite must have been Eric Judor as Victor, Dolph’s gardener who owns many of the scenes he is in with some hilariously understated comedy.

Wrong does everything right. An intriguing story, excellent characters, and hilarious humour. It would be a shame to miss this one.

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