REVIEW / FILM REVIEW – Mouloud Achour and Dominique Baumard have assembled an imposing cast for “Les Méchants”, their first feature film. A distribution in the service of a comedy that does not bear its title well …
The villains : forgive them their trespasses
As a preamble to their first feature film, Mouloud Achour and Dominique Baumard apologize. The directors immediately ask for forgiveness and invite the spectators to be indignant at the slightest situation likely to offend them in what they are about to see. The announcement of a comedy that will not hesitate to go as far as an episode of South Park – one of the claimed models of filmmakers – in crass stupidity, political relevance and the ability to hijack the news?
The villains tells the story of the dazzling media descent of Patrick and Sébastien. The first, played by Roman Frayssinet, steals a Super Nintendo from migrants and tries to sell it in the specialized store of the second, played by Djimo. At the same time, rapper Carcéral (Anthony Bajon) is released from prison with a view to repentance. A little sales-oriented state of mind that brings him to Sébastien’s shop. The artist plans to buy him a Dragon Ball crystal ball in order to carry out his catharsis by reconciling with the objects of a childhood cut short by crime.
But after a misunderstanding, Patrick and Sébastien are forced to go get the ball from Carceral. From there, trouble begins …
A promising starting point, especially since the first exchanges between Roman Frayssinet and Djimo are pleasing, the banter of one sticking to the slowness of the other. But quickly and despite the short duration of the film (1h21), the rhythm gets bogged down and the story loses coherence, the fault of a desire to chain the adventures at the same speed as the banners of continuous news channels.
Laudable intentions, but …
By reproducing a television set, Mouloud Achour and Dominique Baumard make fun of what has become of information, transmitted by advertising agencies and subject to a profitability perspective. Here again, some of the replicas of presenter Virginie Arioule (Ludivine Sagnier) and her experts hit the mark. This is also the case for extracts fromBetween the chairs, “social” and morally polite work carried out by Guillaume Kekchoz (Mathieu Kassovitz).
But as soon as the two convicts burst on Débat.TV and commit “an attack on the fundamentalism” of Carceral, the feeling of confusion takes precedence. The two directors attempt to tackle a multitude of subjects. The uberization of society, the appearance of so-called specialists incapable of arguing on the small screen, off-ground considerations of sores vis-à-vis their ethical consumption, the birth of sterile controversies … The villains tries to make fun of what he points out as the excesses of society, only to put them on the same scale of gravity and excuse most of his worst characters.
The racism of the comedian played by Alban Ivanov for example only leads to gags at the same level as the others in this film which has no political orientation according to Mouloud Achour. And it is precisely there that he sins, since his conclusion advocates a reconciliation going against a first part which suggests a ruthless satire.
The most inspired sequences, including the one with Omar Sy, are drowned out. At the arrival, The villains imposes itself as a catch-all work who forgets his script as well as the messages he strives not to convey, while multiplying the avenues for taking positions.
A clique a little too nice
The film also suffers from a desire to include as many references as possible. Winks that often echo Mouloud Achour’s career and which sometimes put aside narrative logic. On the screens of the offices of Débat.TV, we thus go from a return to the stage to a moment of hesitation between Future and the director taken from an interview with Clique. The journalist is also pleased by inviting the entire team of Kourtrajmé, Hi-Tekk and Nikkfurie from La Caution or Oxmo Puccino, in addition to new faces like those of Marwa Loud and Mohamed Henni, to name a few.
Here again, the feeling that emerges from this cast is above all that of having wanted to bring together a legion of friends, whose talent is undeniable but who are struggling to surface here. The same goes for the few visual attempts. A hallucination sequence partly takes up the concept of Migraine of Roman Frayssinet but does not exploit it and struggles to deploy the …