Sunday, February 13, 2022

Big Bug

Movie Name:
Big Bug
Year of Release: 2022
Director: Jean Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Isabelle Nanty, Elsa Zylberstein, Claude Perron, Stephane de Groodt, Youssef Hajdi, Claire Chust, François Levantal, Alban Lenoir, Marysole Fertard, Helie Thonnat, Juliette Wiatr
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
Watch it on Netflix

Synopsis and Review:
After his many issues with The Weinstein Company with the release of his feature "The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet", director Jean Pierre Jeunet has returned, courtesy of Netflix. The narrative, which takes place in 2045, focuses on the household of the family Barelli. As the narrative begins, Victor Barelli the father, is dropping off the daughter at her mother's place. He and Alice have divorced, and he shows up with his fiancee, whom he plans to marry soon. Alice in the meantime has a visitor at her place, a gentleman by the name of Max who came along with his son Leo, and who is desperately courting her. They are soon joined by one of their neighbors, Françoise, who is desperate about the fact that she can't receive signal in her home. The Barelli's smart house is run efficiently with the further assistance of a few androids, including the humanoid Monique, but also Einstein, Tom and Greg, all of whom serve a purpose. When the androids sense a threat enveloping the outside world, which is coming in the shape of the artificial intelligence by the name of Yonyx, one that now runs all of society, they decide to lock everyone inside the house, in order to protect them. As all these individuals try, unsuccessfully, to get out they suddenly have to figure out a way to work together in order to leave the house. That is, until one of the Yonyx androids shows up at their front door and starts wreaking havoc. 
Director Jean Pierre Jeunet has long created a name for himself as someone who creates distinct universes, where the whimsical and magical coexist with the macabre and grotesque. This film is no exception, with the narrative attempting to be a satire at how dependent of computers and machinery we're all becoming. And simultaneously asking the question, one that also haunted Steven Spielberg's "A.I": can artificial beings have a conscience and a soul. Unlike Spielberg's emotional film, Jeunet's illustrates situations where the cartoonish characters have somehow to deal with their primal instincts, until they realize the seriousness of the situation, and eventually have a reawakening to what is truly important in their lives (always at the sacrifice of those who are innocent and pure). It's not a particularly polished narrative, something that becomes quite obvious in the character development, which is barely existent (though Alice is one of the lead characters, it's never truly clarified why she loves books, and typography, or for that matter, what caused the dissolution of her marriage). As is typical of this director's films, the production design, cinematography and score are top notch, but this time around, the lack of substance to the film makes it look somewhat gratuitous, with the grotesqueness outweighing some of the more humane and sentimental aspects Jeunet always manages to pepper his films with. Elsa Zylberstein is however always a pleasure to watch, as is Isabelle Nanty (who was also in Jeunet's "Amélie"). While there are some interesting moments to it, it's a film that over extends itself, and lacks both momentum and dimension to its characters.