02nd Aug2022

Fantasia 2022: ‘Incredible But True’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Alain Chabat, Anaïs Demoustier, Léa Drucker, Benoît Magimel | Written and Directed by Quentin Dupieux

There are plenty of films that could call themselves Incredible But True but maybe more than most this one feels like it justifies it. But unfortunately, I don’t want to say too much about why this is the case because it would almost definitely spoil the film somewhat if you haven’t seen it. So here’s what I can say.

A couple, searching to buy a house and find one that they both really like. Of course, there is something different about this house and the estate agent is seemingly being very coy about telling them what this is exactly. He shows them a ‘door’ – that looks very much like a manhole – in the floor of the basement. He invites them down it with the promise that what is down there is extraordinary and will change their lives. But he won’t be specific.

And nor will I! But this is a highly original, kind of insane and surprisingly thoughtful movie. That central idea is a great one and will have the viewer constantly thinking about what is happening and where things are heading. I did like that things aren’t really explained, it’s a movie that doesn’t need this big explanation and the mystery is worth having.

Despite it’s often dark tone, there’s plenty of comedic work here. None more so than the two leads Alain (Alain Chabat) and Marie (Lea Drucker) who are fantastic and manage to make things work with the humour, even when the film becomes a little bit sober. There are a few very funny scenes, the first being the funniest, where the running gag is delaying what someone is saying. It’s when the estate agent is explaining the mystery about the house but he’s interrupted or stops saying what he’s about to say. The annoyance the couple get feeds into you as the viewer and the tension builds. What is this thing the house is hiding?

There’s a clear message in the movie and it’s not exactly hidden. It covers how people look at life differently and what really matters to them. And about how some relationships struggle when they have lasted a long time. These are quite serious subjects in tone but they never feel too heavy going here. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t any kind of happy-go-lucky movie and how it ends may be depressing depending how your personal thoughts on time and life are. But there’s lots think about after viewing Incredible But True, you may think about life a little differently.

Off of the main story, there’s a branch from it involving the boss of the husband that takes up almost as much time as the mystery. Again, I think it spoils the surprise saying anything about it but it’s just as strange and even more ridiculous. At times, you wonder why it’s even part of the movie but the absurdity of it all somehow makes it work.

Fans of something a bit different and sometimes ludicrous but still with a real story to tell should check out Incredible But True. One of the most original movies of 2022.

*** 3/5

Incredible But True screened as part of this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival.


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