Mood Indigo is an interesting film based off the novel by French author, Boris Vian. With Michel Gondry's sharp direction, a tone of satire and some funny moments, Mood Indigo should really work. However, watching the film all the way through, I can't help but wonder if the movie would have been better had it not featured so many random and nonsensical scenes that overall didn't do anything for the picture. Mood Indigo is an unusual movie that fits Gondry's style (eg. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and from a filmmaking standpoint, it is fascinating to watch.
The film is set in a surreal Paris, and tells the story of a wealthy bachelor named Colin (played by Romain Duris), who spends his time developing a cocktail-making piano known as a pianocktail (not the most subtle of names), and devouring strange moving dishes prepared by his chef, Nicolas (played by Omar Sy). Colin learns that his best friend, Chick (Gad Elmaleh), who is a fellow assistant of philosopher, Jean-Sol Partre (played by Philippe Torreton), has a new American girlfriend (played by Aissa Maiga, who is actually a Senegal born French actress doing an admirable job pretending that her French accent is low), and so he decides to attend a party in hopes that he may find someone for himself. There he meets Chloe (played by Audrey Tautou) and the two fall in love. Eventually an illness comes over Chloe, one very strange illness, as a flower begins to grow in her lungs. The only way Colin can save her, is to supply her with an endless amount of fresh flowers.
The opening of Mood Indigo introduces us to what most of the film's tone will be as we are treated to a variety of things happening: people using typewriters in a room; then we cut to a man getting out of a bathtub; we see a rat, who is just a small guy in a rat suit etc. Every single thing we see in the introduction relates in some way to some form of technology. The film seems to have a fascination with using technology in weird and unusual ways. I haven't read the book it's based off of, but from what I've heard, it also conveys unusual and bizarre things in it. This makes it interesting to watch, but I couldn't possibly imagine few directors, other than Gondry, making this film work in any way, even if it ultimately makes little sense. Among the things that I find fascinating and weird at the same time in the film include: throughout the film when objects are thrown and touched, multiple versions of them appear suddenly out of the blue; during the dance, the entire background of the area is blue; the ringer in Colin's room is treated like a bug, and falls apart into little tiny robotic bugs anytime it makes a sound; the two couples, Chick and Alise, and Colin and Chloe (who are getting married), ride in small cars throughout the building in order to get to the wedding; and a man gets in a rocket suit with wings of sorts and goes into the sky, only for him to eventually fall back into the sky, among others.
Much like most of Gondry's films including The Silence of The Sleep and Eternal Spotlight of The Sunshine Mind, this film is more about the fantastical elements, than it is about the actual performances. That said, this film features a fine cast, and most of the actors, including Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, and Omar Sy, are giving good performances. There are many things in this film that are honestly not needed, such as the small man in the rat suit, and the bird human lady at the ice rink. Some of these elements serve the story no purpose and are just there to give the film an even weirder feeling.
About an hour within the film, it takes a tonal shift and becomes more depressing as the wife become sick. This shift comes out of the nowhere, but given the story, it actually works. The lack of technology makes this apparent, as Gondry makes the film's tone bleaker and depressing, with Chloe just about dying. By the end of the film, everything is in black and white, which is done to represent Colin's loss of faith and feelings. One scene in particular, features a nice dangerous bit of music, as Colin chases his shadow down the road back home.
Aside from a few scenes, this film is never really boring. I can't really recommend this film for the average moviegoer, but any film geek, like myself, would probably find it fascinating, even if the film inconsistent in some regards.
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