Toto the Hero

This deliciously offbeat film tells of the now elderly Thomas (Bouquet), who has harboured dreams of murderous revenge ever since it first occurred to him that, as a baby during a maternity ward fire, he was exchanged with Alfred, the kid next door. As Thomas sifts through his memories, revelling in his jealous hatred of Alfred, and wistfully recalling his love for his sister Alice and her adult lookalike Evelyne (Perrier), Van Dormael takes us on a twisting trip through his melancholy protagonist's mind: a trip jam-packed with the simple, surprising joys of existence. That Thomas' life, as we see it, is the product of his imagination is made clear not only by the presence of his comic-strip alter ego (the avenging detective of the title), but by the dreamily surreal story and visuals. But if the film's outlandish elements allow Van Dormael (in his feature debut) to exercise an engagingly witty eye for the absurd, he has rooted it in emotional reality, so that Thomas' life, loves, desires and anxieties take on great poignancy. An immensely vibrant, inventive, compassionate movie.

Release details

Duration: 91 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jaco Van Dormael
Screenwriter: Jaco Van Dormael, Laurette Vankeerberghen, Pascal Lonhay, Didier de Neck
Cast: Michel Bouquet
Jo De Backer
Gisela Uhlen
Mireille Perrier
Sandrine Blancke
Peter Böhlke
Didier Ferney
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