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La Moustache (Unrated)

Release Date: May 24th, 2006 (IFC Center) by Cinema Guild.
The Cast: Vincent Lindon, Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Hippolyte Girardot, Cylia Malki, Macha Polikarpova.
Directed by Emmanuel Carrère.
In French with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Marc’s (Lindon) relationship with his wife Agnes (Devos) changes when he shaves his mustache off.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: After a fascinating and absurdly humorous first half as Marc shaves his mustache off and nobody remembers him actually having one, La Moustache becomes twisted, confusing and aimless in its second half. Both Vincent Lindon and Emmanuelle Devos give decent performances as a dysfunctional married couple. However, the plot quickly falls short out of inventive ideas, even with the compelling, yet simple premise. It’s somewhat interesting how Marc tries to separate reality from possible delusions. When he escapes being institutionalized by going to Hong Kong in a long, meandering sequence, the film’s tone turns even more mysterious and dark. Not enough actually happens in Hong Kong plot-wise or character-wise until a bizarre twist in the third act. Even by then, none of the mysteries are solved and what remains feels like a dull, empty void rather than a David Lynchian mystery. Co-screenwriter Jérôme Beaujour fails to develop Marc into a likable, complex or engaging character. Likewise, Agnes, who disappears for the majority of the film, doesn’t come across as a memorable or interesting character either. On a positive note, the musical score by Philip Glass is very well-chosen and much livelier than the film itself.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A confusing, dull, and meandering second half.


IN A NUTSHELL: Initially fascinating and absurdly comic, but quickly turns confusing, dull and aimless.


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