Life & Culture

Film review: Bye Bye Morons (A Dieu Les Cons)

A dark comedy worth a watch


A dying woman goes on the search for the son she was forced to give up as a teen 28 years earlier in this whimsical dark comedy from actor-tuned-director Albert Dupontel. Bye Bye Morons won all six of its nominations at this year’s Cesars — French Oscars — ceremony and has since been breaking all box office numbers on the other side of the Channel. In it, Dupontel pays homage to Terry Gilliam’s 1984 dystopian adventure Brazil, with the legendary Python member also making a brief cameo appearance.

Just like Brazil, Dupontel’s film takes place in a dystopian universe not too dissimilar from our own. After years of working as a hairdresser and being exposed to damaging chemicals and aerosols, Suze Trappet (Virginie Efira) is told that she has very little time left to live. With nothing left to lose, Suze decides to finally look for the baby she was forced to give up decades ago, but has unfortunately hit a brick-wall of bureaucracy.

Meanwhile, after years of working as an IT engineer, loner Jean-Baptiste Cuchas (played by Dupontel) is on the brink of a breakdown brought on by the struggle to keep up with his younger colleagues. Soon, a suicidal Jean-Baptiste finds himself face to face with the desperate Suze who offers to help him clear his name from a crime he didn’t commit, in exchange of helping her in her quest.

Beside the obvious parallels with Brazil, there are also undeniable hints of Jeunet and Caro’s cult classic Delicatessen with its bleak outlook. But the film also possesses a certain whimsical quality that has more in common with Jeunet’s brilliant 2001 romantic comedy, Amelie. There are some very strong performances here from Dupontel and Efira who deliver two brilliantly chaotic turns as two desperate people who need each other more than they know.

Overall, this is a fantastically thought-out, selfware and undeniably funny modern satire about life, death and everything in between. Just like Brazil, it is an undoubtedly impressive and timely cris de coeur against the commodification of human interactions in a this new electronic age.

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