Go

Wrong

Year: 2012
Production Co: Realitism Films
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Writer: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Jack Plotnick, Alexis Dziena, William Fitchner, Eric Judor

The last film from Quentin Dupieux that I saw, Rubber, didn't make a whole lot of sense, but the narrative was solid enough to keep ahold of.

This time around, he goes into complete head scratching territory with a mind-bending black comedy where the story, the characters, the chronology and the set pieces are all – as the film says – wrong.

It starts when Dolph (Jack Plotnick) awakens, his clock radio flicking over from 7.59 not to 8.00 but to 7.60. Something is indeed wrong in this world. Dolph goes downstairs to feed the dog, Paul, but Paul is nowhere to be seen. While outside looking for him, Dolph's neighbour explains how he's going to climb into his yellow Saab and just drive away and never come back – which he does.

It starts off a series of events that live up to the title (although it could also have been called 'weird'). Dolph gets a menu in the mail for a pizza place, calls them up and talks to the sweet girl on the other end, Emma (Alexis Dziena), for a long while.

His French gardener Victor (Eric Judor) shows up and calls Dolph on his mobile – while Dolph is standing no more than 15 feet away. Later that day, the palm tree in the back yard will have turned into a pine tree for no apparent reason.

Dolph goes to work, a company where his co-workers glare at him with suspicion and hostility. It turns out he got fired three months before, but even that's not the strangest part. A constant torrent of water rains down on the files, cheesy vendor posters, plywood filing cabinets, desk toys and employees as if the fire sprinklers had been turned on and never turned off, apparently having been going on for a long time as nobody bats an eyelid.

In his quest to find his lost dog, Dolph turns to Master Chang (William Fitchner), a bestselling author, mystic, and – as he soon reveals – a dog kidnapper who steals people's pets so as to stop them taking their animals for granted.

But along with his soft-voiced platitudes about the spiritual aspects of his work, Master Chang is embarrassed to admit that when they took Paul, they promptly lost him – that's related to the burned out van you've seen in the first scene of the movie, most of the firefighters just sitting around doing nothing, one of them taking a dump in the middle of the road. Seriously.

The woman from the pizza shop sends Dolph a free pizza and a note offering to sleep with him, but when he throws it away, Victor the gardener retrieves the pizza, goes to Emma's place pretending to be Dolph and enjoys the delights of her company.

But Emma turns out to be a psycho who's already married, and after Victor dies of a heart attack on Dolph's front lawn, he's suddenly back with Emma hovering nearby, professing her undying love before Victor's suddenly revealed to be in his coffin getting buried, the nightmare about Emma apparently the mental equivalent of death throes.

But Emma does latch instead onto the real Dolph, is immediately pregnant and then goes into labour (all on the same day), Dolph going insane with the noise in his house when he just wants to use the mental telepathy he's learned in Master Chang's book to communicate with his missing dog.

In most movies like this the lead character would be a stand-in for the audience, the only normal one in the midst of such nonsense. But Dupieux doesn't give us even that much of a concession. As weird as anything else in the film, our introduction to Dolph includes him calling the pizza place taking issue with their logo, which shows a rabbit riding a motorcycle and represents a kind of redundancy that clearly upsets him. He's woven right into this upside down tapestry.

Dupieux directs such gobbledygook with the same kind of assured confidence he bought to Rubber and there's probably a purpose to it all, but like the films of David Lynch, you're not supposed to know what it is – maybe Dupieux doesn't either.

It might be about alternate universes, it might all be a dream the dog's having, it might be a parable for family and capitalism. It's ultimately unsatisfying because it never even shows a single card, let alone plays its hand, but it keeps you watching just because of the curiosity about just how strange it can get.

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