FILM REVIEW / REVIEW – Nine years after “The Extravagant Journey of the Young and Prodigious TS Spivet”, Jean-Pierre Jeunet presents his new feature film, “Bigbug”, on Netflix. A camera with humans and robots in a colorful and sanitized future, which we like the careful mix of genres, but we can also regret the lack of sensitivity and the harmless scenario.
The return of Jean-Pierre Jeunet to business
Is he a good filmmaker of his time? Or on the contrary, is he the one who goes through the periods with the same constancy of performance? This is the question that arises in front of the new film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the futuristic comic fable big unavailable from February 11 on Netflix.
In French cinema, very few of his colleagues can display such a brilliant CV. After the much noticed Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children-directed with Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet took off on his own in 1997 with Alien, the resurrection continues with its great success The fabulous destiny of Amelie Poulain then A long engagement Sunday.
follow Micmacs and despite its qualities a failure in 2013 with The Extravagant Voyage of the young and prodigious TS Spivet.
A sixth film made alone therefore with Bigbug, which marks the return of Jean-Pierre Jeunet to feature films. Always photographed and decorated with passion, always interpreted with conviction, and always with surprising innovations. Comedy, a few ways of horror and a lot of childish joy, the traditional ingredients of his cinema are there. Unfortunately, this time, it only takes half.
A comedy in the pure Jeunet style
The main idea, without being new, remains amusing. Somewhere in the middle of the 21st century, humans live in a robotic world where a military race of robots with highly developed artificial intelligence, the Yonyx, are trying to seize power.
Locked in their homes, humans will find unexpected allies: their house robots, who do not want the order of the world to be changed. We find all the geniuses of Jean-Pierre Jeunet to create amazing beings here especially the robots.
Whether they are simple household robots or highly developed androids, they are the ones who capture the viewer’s attention, and they too seem to have received the director’s best consideration. There are thus the Yonyx, all provided with the features of François Levantal, both frightening and funny.
There’s Greg, a captivating robot lover played by Alban Lenoir, and the ever-perfect Claude Perron as Monique, an android housekeeper who seeks to understand what makes a “humanity”. The faithful André Dussolier, voice-over in The fabulous destiny of Amelie Poulainhere lends his voice to Einstein, a homemade robot.
Facing them, the humans of Bigbug seem almost bland, despite a writing effort to put them in good grip with the future and convincing interpretations.
There is the pretty and kindly pitcher Jennifer (Claire Chust), a vaguely libidinous seducer (Stéphane De Groodt), the frank and dynamic neighbor Françoise (Isabelle Nanty), the hostess who is both enthusiastic and on the verge of depression Alice (Elsa Zylberstein), Jennifer’s boyfriend and Alice’s ex-husband, the invariably funny Youssef Hajdu.
Talented comedians, but a very simplistic and damaging characterization of their characters.
All Bigbug takes place in Alice’s house, admirably decorated, a real house-gadget whose nooks and crannies we enjoy discovering. We recognize in the artistic direction the genius of Jeunet, who serves up a story of enthusiasm and childish pleasure.
This is what works naturally in Bigbug while unfortunately, the almost theatrical aspect of the human comedy that is being played out creates a form of inequality that is harmful to the whole. Too real allegory of the recent confinements of our societies, where the excitement of an unprecedented urgency quickly gave way to anxious boredom?
A sandbox lacking ideas
Laugh, marvel, be frightened, and criticize our relationship at the time when humanism as opposed to “technologist”? the Bigbug does not make a choice, would like to fulfill all these ambitions, but fails. At the arrival, the Bigbug is paradoxical. The pace is fast and the adventures follow one another, but the film suffers from excessive length.
With a “human” cast that nevertheless takes its tasks very seriously, while having fun with nods to the world already present (haunting of germs, elbow salutes, fascination with reality TV, aggressive marketing), no one stands out, manages to dazzle with his main character trait.