In just 4 years, Quentin Dupieux has established himself as one of the most iconoclastic filmmakers on the international film circuit and with Reality he delivers his most ambitious and weirdest work to date – which says a lot.

The French director who also had a successful electronic music career as Mr. Oizo came under the spotlight with his second feature, Rubber, a cult horror flick which featured a serial killing tire going on a rampage in the Californian desert. Following a couple other eccentric works, Wrong and Wrong Cops, you could have expected Mr. Dupieux to lighten up, especially since he lives in Tinseltown but, to the contrary, Reality brings his absurdity to the next level while reaching for a broader audience.

The film follows three storylines: the first one involves a TV host who wears a rat costume and can’t help scratching himself on the air (Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder). The second is about a young girl named Reality (Kyla Kenedy) – not only she is the subject of a documentary but she’s obsessed with a VHS tape found inside a boar’s intestines. Finally, there is Jason (French TV star Alain Chabat) a wannabe filmmaker trying to make an apocalyptic movie about killer TVs (most likely, Mr. Dupieux’s alter ego).

As you would expect, the narrative threads will cross but don’t expect to find answers to some of the weird things going on. Rather, the script gets even more intricate as the movie unfolds, Mr. Dupieux blurring the lines between dream – or more precisely nightmare – and reality. While this theme has somewhat turned into a punch line, mostly since Inception made it mainstream while overkilling it, the French director ventures into David Lynch territory, referring directly to the masterful Mulholland Drive and flawed Inland Empire.

What, however, makes it different from all these works is that he uses his film as a vehicle for comedy, his signature absurd and dark sense of humor being omnipresent here – the movie producer is probably the character that stands out the most when it comes to make you laugh. Watched at a different level, Reality can also be seen as a satire of the Movie and TV industries and is most likely based on Mr. Dupieux’s own experience in Hollywood – what’s interesting here, is that that he takes both on commercial entertainment and artsy fares– see documentary about the girl; he also made it clear that he is part of the world he is gently criticizing.

As to whether everything makes sense in the end, the answer is obviously no; neither can Mr. Dupieux’s picture be fully analyzed the way you could look at Mr. Lynch and Kubrick’s works; nor is it limited by a logical narrative frame – rather this is free form art with dreamlike irrationality. Just like with Rubber, you need to embrace his surrealist universe and let yourself blindly go for the ride to fully enjoy it.

Director: Quentin Dupieux – Actors: Alain Chabat, Élodie Bouchez – Running Time: 1:35 – Year: 2014 – Country: France
Click here to watch the Reality trailer
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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.