99 Francs, Jan Kounen’s critical take on the advertising industry was the only movie of the festival I watched outdoors. Indeed, the R&A-festival traditionally forms the tail end of the outdoor presentations at Engel, and this year was no exception.
I loathed Kounen’s previous film, Blueberry. It managed to take a perfectly decent western movie, and turn it into a pretty but ultimately empty trip to innerspace when the protagonist ingests some serious peyote.
The very same mannerism rears its ugly head here. The inevitable coke binges are visualized in a psychedelic and longwinded fashion.
But fortunately they remain sidelined for almost the entire length, and the plot actually advances.
The satirical depiction of the life in an advertising agency veers between believable (a beautifully realized brainstorming session) to the utterly bonkers (which, obviously, may be just the protagonist’s drug-addled synapses misfiring). I’m pretty sure the executives of Danone were not amused with the target of the bluntest attacks.
Jean Dujardin in the starring role occasionally bore a striking resemblance to Josh Holloway (of Lost fame), a fact that took almost half of the distance to figure out.
And sure, it was growing cold outside after the sunset. But a spare hoodie, a big blanket and a cup of seriously spiked tea helped endure the chill.