Review: Incredible but True

Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux, Alain and Marie moved to the suburb house of their dreams. But the real estate agent warned them: what is in the basement may well change their lives forever. Starring: Alain Chabat, Léa Drucker, Benoît Magimel, Anaïs Demoustier, Stéphane Pezerat, Marie-Christine Orry and Roxane Arnal.

A Quentin Dupieux film comes with an expectation of being weird, from homicidal tires to giant flies, there’s always something unexpected in store and yet interestingly Incredible but True feels only weird adjacent. The writing definitely throws in some wacky details but the key story itself of the couple’s sci-fi-esque basement is surprisingly tame in comparison with his previous work. It comes across as an exploration of the classic human weakness, vanity. It’s an age old tale, given the option to become younger, even when we’re not truly aware of the risks, do you go for it?. Diving into will power, priorities and insecurity, it asks an interesting question, it’s just not one you’d expect from Dupieux. It’s a factor which is then undercut by skipping past a lot of the consequences and extenuating themes, which would potentially have a lot to add, leaving you with a fairly unsatisfying affair.

Visually it’s basically the same story, it’s much more ordinary than you’d expect. It initially brings an air of mystery and oddity but that passes pretty quickly in favour of something more typically dramatic. There’s a casual atmosphere and as it enters its later scenes, it makes the poor choice of using a sped-up style to breeze through a huge part of the story, giving little detail. It’s unfortunate as it makes the film feel rushed, and again it undermines some of the most interesting parts the story has to offer.

Alain Chabat and Léa Drucker provide your classic bantering couple who see different sides of the equation. Their performances feed perfectly into the two sides of the film’s key question on vanity and insecurity, with one leaning towards quality time and relationships and the other immediately drawn into the prospect of youth. However, our odd quantity comes in the form of Benoît Magimel’s Gérard. It’s a difficult performance to go into without spoiling it but it’s safe to say his eccentricities give the film a nicely strange addition.

Incredible but True has a fun concept but lacks the usual bizarre, unique nature of Quentin Dupieux’s films. It starts to wade into the psychological and emotional themes that its plot raises but then entirely skips through them in favour of a quick resolution. It has a touch of the strange but there was plenty of room for more, with only the occasional satisfyingly odd moment but it’s otherwise surprisingly average.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

Available Exclusively on Arrow Player from 7 November

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