Very smart, intelligent and original screenplay. It is hard to find a film so funny yet so full of sarcasm and dark tones about the real life. Both ain characters are fully developed and escape obvious cliches. This film is like a celebration of humanity in its complex imperfection. Refreshingly it shows invalids as red-blooded humans, full of flaws yet interesting. Did I mention it is often funny too?
Time Out saysFarmer Gus (Gustave Kervern) has a tendency for dozing off on the job, losing his rag, and generally annoying the hell out of people. Commuter Ben (Benoît Delépine) – his neighbour – is probably the person he annoys most. And Ben has hit a bad patch with his job and his marriage. One day, Gus’s wilfully obstructive tractor-driving is the last straw. A fight ensues, the tractor malfunctions, and Gus and Ben awaken in neighbouring hospital beds, paralysed from the waist down. Sent home having been told there’s no hope of improved mobility, each turns to thoughts of suicide…
The reluctant and magnificently ill-matched pair soon abandon self-pity, however. Instead they give free rein to their anger and assertive aggression as Gus determines to head to Finland to sue the tractor manufacturers and Ben surlily accompanies him north to a motorcross meet.
If you’re not laughing yet, you soon will be, as this is one of the funniest black comedies in some time. Kervern and Delépine’s deadpan chronicle of this largely wordless wheelchair odyssey is essentially a string of priceless sight-gags – beautifully shot in black-and-white ’Scope – hung on to the sturdy premise of the steel-jawed protagonists’ entirely undisguised dislike of each other and, probably, the rest of the world. Few if any of the gags hinge on their disability, and those that do highlight how the non-disabled world can unwittingly make life unnecessarily difficult for wheelchair-users. ‘Man Bites Dog’s’ Benoît Poelvoorde is in the cast, though you may miss him; Aki Kaurismäki and Jason Flemyng are recognisable, however. But I bet it’s the guy singing ‘Sunny’ who sticks with you. Lovely.
Fri Dec 3, 2004