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An honest movie that gets tangled up in what it tries to point out
I never read the book of Beigbeder and so I was eager to see the movie after hearing many positive views on the book and knowing that the visuals of a Kounen Movie will be great. I didn't expect this movie to be so much of a comedy because the subject is rather tough. Anyway I think "99 francs" works really good on the level of a satire and it captures the deeply rooted cynicism that is implanted in the world of marketing and PR (in my opinion you can't work in this industry without becoming a total cynic) very well. I just loved the honesty in how the meetings and decisions were described as "masturbation" and how the main actors spend most of their time being high on drugs and their ego. Since the subject is so damn messed up I think approaching and ridiculing it with comedic elements made the movie more enjoyable. You will get many good laughs as well as following the comedy some direct punches to the stomach. All served in perfect visuals with loads of great ideas melting the flashbacks and development of main character Jean Dujarding together. The movie starts of practically with its end and then fast-rewinding to the beginning of how Jean ended up in Marketing but Jeans back story is shown in a very superficial way. You don't really know too much of him and rather see him on his job with his over-the-top cynic boss Marc and his slacker colleague Charlie. Like in every movie it takes a woman in the form of trainee Tamara to get the humanity out of Jeans character. They start an affair but when Tamara gets pregnant things get too serious and Jeans cynical world starts to implode leading to more and more harsh pictures breaking up the colorful advertising world.
Until the first ending I think the movie already made its point by presenting a fake world of cynics with their ridiculous everyday life and how they feel like gods. Unfortunately someone had the messed up idea of presenting the movie with an alternate ending, so you get a very long second version... I get the idea of making fun of how things usually turn out in Hollywood movies and in a perfect ad-world but I think 99francs really messes up its whole intention. Guess what, you get an alternative ending in which Jean finds his humanity and moves to a tropical island finding his peace and love. Yes, we know that advertising and Hollywood clichés are superficial but that point was made before and by playing with the rules even when making fun of them the movie gets entangled in what it wants do criticize and to my understanding falls flat on his face, not even stopping from letting you leave the movie with a preachy message printed on the screen.
Its kind of like making the whole movie again and then telling the viewer what to think and in that its more of what it criticizes than it was supposed to be. That is really a shame because the movie is filled with eye openers and visual gimmicks that make it fun to watch (although the last part kind of dragged for me). So still "99francs" is recommended viewing especially for everyone who doesn't work in or near the marketing industry. But I wished the movie left the viewer with a hard and direct punch to the face and thoughts spinning in his head to come to his own conclusion and not some "hahaha"-fun ending with a preachy moral presented like in a "World Aid" spot.
6 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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