Mandibles

French Absurdist auteur filmmaker/musician Quentin Dupieux has by and large made a name for himself with his inexplicable oddities. If you’ve seen one of his films (probably Rubber or Deerskin), you know exactly what I’m referring to. His typically quirky plots and eccentric world-building have an aurora of intrigue in the most simplistic of manners; Dupieux crafts a plot that almost always revolves around a random yet hilariously interesting macguffin, be it a sentient tire, a missing dog, a designer deer skin jacket, or in this case, a giant fly. It’s literally extraordinary, as he takes the ordinary and injects it with a double-dose shot of random idiosyncrasies. Idiosyncratic absurdity is possibly the best description for his films. They’re absolutely not for everyone, but they’re always absolutely original and surreal stories. I’d be very interested to see a roundtable discussion or film collaboration between Dupieux and Yorgos Lanthimos

The plot of Mandibles is quite simple in premise. Two best friends stumble upon a giant fly, and decide to domesticate it in hopes of training it to rob things for them. That alone is quite the intriguing pitch, but perhaps I may spice it up for you by saying it also co-stars Blue is the Warmest Color‘s Adèle Exarchopoulos in quite an extremely hilarious film-stealing role that has to be seen—or should I say heard—to be believed. Mandibles may not have the same charm that Rubber and Wrong have, but like with the majority of Dupieux’s films, they’re typically under 90 minutes, in this case a very brisk 77.  Following along the ridiculous journey of protagonist duo Manu (Grégoire Ludwig) & Jean-Gab (David Marsais) gave me strong vibes of a French variant of Dumb & Dumber‘s Lloyd and Harry after seeing The Big Lebowski. A couple of seemingly homeless stoner buddies being tasked with transporting some unknown Kiss Me Deadly meets Pulp Fiction briefcase who just keep running into one random chance encounter after another after finding the fly—each encounter raising the stakes just a little higher as they get themselves wrapped in what can best be described as an unfolding comedy of errors. Contrary to the two aforementioned Dupieux films I’ve seen that have some underlying commentary, there really isn’t much to the plot here. It’s oddly wholesome and despite my initial concern that it’d be a waste of time, I gradually became more and more endeared to Manu and Jean-Gab, and their quest to raise and train their new insect pet, Dominique. Guess away at will as to what the cheeky title may be referring to, but I guarantee you will not see it coming until it’s staring you in the face. 

B-

B- Review

TheBigLeeBowski View All →

Film Studies/History graduate, using my love and knowledge of the medium to pass as a critic. To my editor’s chagrin, I typically like to go over my word count in discussing films. Most if not all my reviews are originally written within an hour of finishing the film, so that I can deliver an unfiltered, raw, genuine, in the moment, thought process to you. My taste is eclectic (both in film and music), but I have a strong preference for 80s Cult/Sleaze films, Sci-fi, War, Chambara, Fantasy, and Psychological Thrillers. Thanks for giving us a read and I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit! Long live physical media; long live VHS. Remember: watch whatever, whenever, with whomever.

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