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Manuel de Layet [Film Festival 12.03.11] action drama romance

Year: 2011
Directors: Evan Glodell
Writers: Evan Glodell
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: The Crystal Ferret
Rating: 0 out of 10

Before anything today, let me state clearly that I’m clearly not the target audience for this movie. This happens sometimes. I don’t even find any relevance of screening this during a fantastic film festival since the only thing remotely fantastic in the movie is a quote from MadMax II.

On the press leaflet this was described as “Australia, 2011 ; Two friends prepare for an impending nuclear apocalypse by constructing weapons and vehicles of destruction, but a girl will change everything”

That’s basically all wrong.

Now bear with me, I always try to find something a least remotely interesting, gratifying or amusing in anything I watch but in this particular case I failed. For me there’s absolutely nothing of any cinematographic interest in the approx. 110 mins this thing runs. And judging on how the theatre emptied itself during its course it’s a shared feeling. The fact that the guy seated next to me fell asleep around the 2nd act also comforts me in finding this utterly boring. On the other hand there was something like twenty people in the whole theater that thoroughly enjoyed themselves and laughed, cheered and so on; I’ll therefore stick to my initial saying “I’m not the target audience”.

Let’s have a look anyway. On a first note there was a typo in the press leaflet: this is not an Australian film. The same leaflet describes the movie as a cross between George Miller’s Mad Max and the Larry Clark teen movies. And honestly, that kind of description is appealing, it’s pretty sad that’s as far from the actually movie as a piece of fried cod.

The only things relevant to the MadMax universe are a few quotes from Lord Humongous as a red herring to justify the fact the two main characters wanted to build a flamethrower and a custom car. Total screen time of both the flamethrower and the car is around 4 mins. As for the Larry Clark movies … I have nothing against teen spleen or adolescent angst, and both Kids and Bully are truly gripping in that sense, but the main paradigm is the protagonists are teens, not thirty-somethings like here. But if we discard these previous elements what’s left?

Not much, and it goes like this: guy meets girl, they date for 3 weeks, they break up, and shit happens. There are many movies on this pitch, and good ones too. Sadly here the story is impaired by many problems, the biggest of all being the total lack of narrative continuity. The movie is actually divided in chapters with little link between them, and to add insult to injury the chapters are titled, giving away what’s going to happen inside. It’s like the books/audio tales for children: “when you hear the duck go “hrrrunk” turn the page”.

Another problem is the stance of it all, it’s not a comedy. It’s not really a drama, nor a critique of something, it’s just bland. There was a moment when I thought it was a parody of the hipster style of living, seeing a grown man go shopping on a fixie tricycle tends to spring that kind of thinking, but it’s not a critique, not a glorification, not even a comment. We see people go about their lives and that’s all of it.

And when I say “go about their lives” it resumes to drinking PBR and cheap whisky, fumbling with their DIY projects and annoying one another. All of this happening with the energy of a turtle on Xanax. You might say I’m a grumpy old man, but seeing people just waste their life away isn’t what I call entertainment.

The dialogs resumes to half phrases and monosyllabic grunts, the effect applied to the image to give it a vintage look reminds me of this trend of buying the latest numeric camera and then applying a filter in Photoshop to make it look like a Polaroid from the seventies.

I’ve heard lots of things around this movie; the biggest laughing stock was “the apocalypse is a metaphor for the internal pains the hero encounter in his breakup”. Honestly if a grown man is destroyed to the point of calling it an apocalypse by breaking up with someone he knows for less than a month, I don’t want to know what happens when he cuts is toenails.

Other arguments in favor of the film are “they built everything themselves, including the camera, and it’s autobiographical”, there again I’m sorry to say this has nothing to do with the worth of the movie in itself. I’m pretty glad the director managed a tenfold r.o.i on his do-it-yourself project, and I’m pretty sure a making-of would be interesting, but the film in itself is just nothing worth viewing.

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quietearth (9 years ago) Reply

I strongly disagree.. This is one of the top 5 films I've seen this year.


Scott (9 years ago) Reply

Nothing I hate more in the world than misogynistic, unemployed hipsters incapable of relating to the real world. Ugh, the guys in this movie disgusted me.


PapaSwamp (9 years ago) Reply

I was disappointed to say the least. Basically, early 20 somethings drinking, having sex and trying to blow stuff up. Most of the time I was waiting for something exciting to happen…after 3/4 of the way through I shut it off. Not even close to Mad Max….not even close.


boymonkey74 (9 years ago) Reply

Iam looking forward to this film, also I distrust any review which gives a film 0 out of 10 it's just lazy


fred (9 years ago) Reply

a good reviewer can assess a film from the perspective of its target audience. QED Mr Ferret = loser


Michael Allen (9 years ago) Reply

I think there is a typo in: "I don’t want to know what happens when he cuts is toenails." Interesting review and I agree this film is a slow burn, but I had a good feeling walking away from this one in the end. I think it was a feeling of hunger for a sandwich.


Plissken (9 years ago) Reply

I didn't love it but damn, the look of the film is nothing short of amazing and to give the film-makers no credit for the unique cinematography along with the fact that they made their own flame thrower, modified the Medusa and built a custom camera is just downright brainless. 0/10 is just way off. Terrible 'review'.

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