PLOT: When Dolph Springer’s beloved dog Paul disappears, he comes to the realization that his pet has been kidnapped. Soon, he is on a strange journey looking for Paul after he discovers who may have taken his dog. He persists through his desperation after meeting the man behind it who offers him the suggestion of telekinesis to reconnect with his pooch. His search leads him through a series of misfortunes due to his own neurotic tendencies as well as the curious behavior of those around him.
What would you expect from a filmmaker who created a movie about a telekinetic killer tire called RUBBER? As much as writer/director Quentin Dupieux embraces the weird and wonderful, his latest was even stranger than I’d imagined. His bizarre and compelling feature WRONG may be sitting perfectly in a real world situation – as opposed to the murderous tire – yet it twists and turns with unexpected strangeness not unlike something from the mind of David Lynch albeit without delving into the dark and macabre.
The story begins with the film’s hero Dolph Springer (played perfectly by character actor Jack Plotnick). He wakes up one morning to find that his dog Paul is missing. However nothing is simple in poor Dolph’s universe. His friend (?) and neighbor Mike (Regan Burns) is planning to get in his car and drive to what could be the ends of the earth. While checking his mail, Springer is extremely bothered by the logo on a flyer for “Jesus’s Organic Pizza” which has a rabbit riding a motorcycle. And to make matters worse, the palm tree he had in his yard has turned into a pine tree without any explanation from his gardener Victor (Eric Judor). Yes, the events here can feel more random than a “Family Guy” episode.
The many levels that WRONG plays as it drifts through curiously drawn characters - including a police officer with a very odd sense of humor (Mark Burnham) to a infatuated pizza place counter-girl named Emma (Alexis Dziena) - feels like a strange trip indeed. Yet it is not simply the side characters that offer exaggerated examples of real life eccentric behavior, there is nobody here stranger than Dolph himself. It helps that Plotnick is such a talented actor as he brings an honest to goodness sense of earnestness to his emotional response to losing his dog. The man is so keen on schedule that he continually returns to work months after he was fired – much to his co-workers chagrin. Although the real question here is why anybody would want to work where they can’t seem to fix the fire sprinklers?
While on his journey Dolph discover a man with a plan. William Fichtner is captivating as Master Chang, a quirky fellow who kidnaps animals from their owners in hopes to make their love for their pet stronger when returned. Rarely does an actor completely disappear in a role quite like Fichtner and this is no exception. This reclusive and of course psychic animal expert brings the film to life every time his calm and soothing demeanor is captured on-screen. Even when he is describing a tragic accident that almost destroyed his face he injects an unnatural heir of positivity. This guy could give Deepak Chopra a run for his money.
As strange as RUBBER was, Dupieux definitely didn’t attempt a more mainstream feature this time around. From the opening moments where a firefighter takes a dump in the middle of the street while reading a newspaper to the strange beach sequence with Victor and Emma, this is odd territory indeed. Yet he never brings the viewer down with the oddities, it seems there is always a silver lining. Apparently even death can’t stop some of these wacky characters.
To say that WRONG isn’t for everybody is a massive understatement. While Dupieux’ work tends to stay in the light as opposed to say Todd Solondz or the previously mentioned Lynch, fans looking for a modern day madman should appreciate his unique vision. There is a lot that is right about WRONG, if you are willing to take that trip.
|Extra Tidbit:||WRONG will be available February 1 on VOD through DirecTV, Dish, Indemand, TVN, ATT, and iTunes with a limited theatrical release on March 29, 2013.|