September 05, 2020
It’s a truly daft idea, but Quentin Dupieux’s film about a pair of robbers who try to train a giant insect doesn’t quite go the distance
Mandibles review – bizarre giant-fly comedy runs out of sugar
In the wild old days of the film festival circuit, directors, writers and hangers-on liked to end each day with drunken discussions about the movies they’d seen. They’d say what they’d liked and what they hadn’t, and the things they’d have done better if it was their story to tell. Occasionally, around the time the third bottle was brought out, they’d brainstorm daft ideas: the sort of idiotic, joke conceit that sounds great at 1am and less good the next morning when the hangover has kicked in. That culture is conspicuously absent from this year’s masked, distanced Venice. But incredibly, it appears that one of those wild notions has now fled the bar, taken shape and grown legs. And wings.
Clocking in at a little over an hour, Mandibles is a rollicking, rambunctious tequila-dream of a movie, written and directed by Quentin Dupieux, whose superior Deerskin premiered at Cannes last year. It’s about Manu and Jean-Gab (Gregoire Ludig and David Marsais), two dopey deadbeats who steal a rustbucket Mercedes to run a mysterious - and surely illegal - errand up the coastline. On the way, they’re disturbed by a noise in the boot of the car. “Maybe it’s a hair-dryer,” Jean-Gab says hopefully.
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