Coming to you from the same guy who brought you Rubber, a thriller about a rubber tire who becomes conscious, here’s a much more digestible movie. Mandibles or Mandibules in French is not your typical quirky comedy with a surrealist twist. Apart from one aspect of this movie, everything else is firmly rooted in reality. This is a story about two best friends Manu and Jean-Gab who also happen to be two witless criminals. They stumble upon a giant fly in a trunk of a car and the story sort of writes itself from there.
At each point of Mandibles, I kept waiting for it anxiously to turn into an over-the-top and too-quirky comedy but that twist never came. Mandibles is a wholesome, exceedingly entertaining, and charming comedy about friendship, our society, and life in general. Don’t get me wrong, the movie doesn’t have a grand narrative or anything like that. It just flows naturally from the starting premise. And something like that is so rare in today’s cinema. This is what makes it such a pleasure to watch.
Out of all Quentin Dupieux’s movies, this is the one I would recommend you watch first. And you can feel free to recommend it to your friends. If you can resist it, try to tell them as little about it as possible. That way they can discover its beauty themselves. We’ve already talked about Quentin’s movie Reality, which I also recommend you check out. Both of them are unpretentious and refreshing, a perfect break from perfectly predictable mainstream cinema.
The sun is shining and waves are slowly caressing a beautiful sandy beach in the south of France. On that beach, we find Manu, a currently homeless criminal who just got a lucrative offer from a strange man. He just needs to transport a suitcase from one place to another. To help him with this, he enlists Jean-Gab, his childhood friend. But before they set off on this adventure, they stumble upon something that will change their lives completely.
As with any French comedy, the very language was the source of so many laughs. The way they pronounce words and their gesticulations are just so damn funny. I kept repeating the word Mouche or Fly for days after Mandibles. Quentin knows how to create these creative and oftentimes surreal scenes that get funnier and funnier with each passing moment. The script is intelligent, hilarious, and above all, natural. Our two lead characters have the intellect of teenage boys despite inhabiting the bodies of grown men.
And their positive attitude is unyielding and inspiring. Gregoire Ludig and David Marsais did a terrific job and make one hell of a duo. Kind of like Gerard Depardieu or Jean Reno and Christian Clavier did in the nineties (The Guardian Angels and The Visitors). I can only imagine how good it would be to get high and watch Mandibles. I know I laughed my ass off completely straight so I cannot even think about that scenario. The pacing is just right, not too fast and also not too slow.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, so yeah, the pacing is smooth and so is the movie. And with a running time of just over seventy minutes, the ride will be over before you know it. The story is thoroughly unpredictable and yet entirely logical from the perspective of our charming duet of criminals. It takes place on the stunningly gorgeous French Riviera with lush foliage and alluring beaches. And rich people’s houses. Among all of this wealth and beauty, we find our two very poor heroes. Or anti-heroes.
I would also add that this is a perfect movie for a date night, especially if you want to impress the other person with your quirkiness and uniqueness. You’ll thank me later. Finally, I have good news for everyone who liked this movie as Quentin Dupieux teased the possibility of a sequel. He apparently already has the title, Tentacles, and has told the press that he would make it if it exceeded 500,000 admissions in France.
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Writer: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Grégoire Ludig, David Marsais, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Bruno Lochet, Coralie Russier
Fun Facts: Although the premiere was back in 2020, due to the pandemic, audiences around the world had to wait a few years for the movie to come out.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10375106/