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Nerdlocker Movie Review: Mood Indigo


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Poster by Landland

Like a modern day Georges Méliès, director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep) fills Mood Indigo with luscious practical effects that give the film a wonderful handmade quality. There’s a crawling doorbell critter, stop-motion food, rotating handshakes, and dozens of other visual gags and metaphors. The mood of the characters (played by an all-star French cast including the lovely Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris, Gad Elmeleh, and Omar Sy) are represented visually in the world around them and the vibrant colors (or lack thereof) of the setting mirror their inner feelings.

Based on Boris Vian’s 1947 cult novel Froth on the Daydream (known in the States as Foam of the Daze), Gondry’s highly stylized, big screen adaptation is whimsical, playful, trippy, and surreal.  Acid heads and Gondry diehards will love it. Folks that require a coherent, straight-forward narrative may find it frustrating. The story is simple enough, but when the movie ended I felt like something was missing. That’s when I discovered that the 125 minute international version was cut down to 94 minutes for the US release. That’s a quarter of the film! Bummer, I look forward to seeing the rest of the movie and I hope that the cut footage will provide some depth. As is, the film is gorgeous to look at, but hard to connect with. It gets choppy two-thirds of the way through.

Omar Sy continues his scene-stealing ways from The Intouchables and remains imminently likeable. I’ve been a fan of Gad Elmeleh since The Valet but he has a limited role here. He and Audrey Tautou previously worked together on Priceless and had great chemistry, but he doesn’t get a decent chance to flex his comedic muscle in Mood Indigo.

It is distinctly a Gondry film and is immediately recognizable as such. The sets/props are imaginative and the retro future design is Gilliamesque. Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil is a prime example of a movie that was butchered by cuts. Forced to change the ending, and release a shorter, happier, Love Conquers All version, the film was bastardized. It wasn’t until the LA Film Critics attended a rogue screening of Gilliam’s cut and named it best movie of the year, that audiences got to see the complete, intended version. You never know, with Mood Indigo it might go the other way. The shorter version could be a tighter picture with better pacing and the film might actually benefit from the cuts, but I’m guessing the deleted scenes will help will bring clarity to Gondry’s vision.

I rate the US version 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

Essential Viewing: The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Amelie, Brazil, Priceless, Love Me If You Dare, A Trip To The Moon

Mood Indigo is currently playing in Houston at Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park.

The trailer:

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