VOD film review: Keep an Eye Out (Au Poste!)
Ivan Radford | On 02, Feb 2019
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Benoît Poelvoorde, Grégoire Ludig, Marc Fraize
Watch Keep an Eye Out online in the UK: N/A
Keep an Eye Out is one of several films released online as part of the month-long MyFrenchFilmFestival. See the full 2019 line-up here.
“It’s an investigation! Shit… sorry, I forgot an important family thing.” That’s the sound of the worst police interrogation ever in Keep an Eye Out, a delightfully daft film from Quentin Dupieux. The director broke out onto the world stage with Rubber, a 2010 pseudo-horror about a sentient car tyre that has murderous telekinetic powers.
That oddity won fans with its warped visual slapstick, but Keep an Eye Out impresses because it showcases Dupieux’s knack for verbal humour: the 90-minute comedy is a farce in which almost nothing happens, like a cross between Police Academy and Samuel Beckett, or a Naked Gun sequel directed by Luis Bunuel.
It follows Louis Fugain (Gregoire Ludig), who visits the police station to inform them of a body in front of his building. But his witness statement spirals into a full-on investigation, as Le commissaire Buron (Benoit Poelvoorde) starts to suspect that he’s responsible – and won’t let him go without lengthy, detailed answers.
Those answers, though, are interrupted again and again by an increasingly bizarre set of circumstances – from Buron’s own family dealings to another cop, Philippe (Marc Fraize), filling out an application form… to become a cop. If that last sentence made you double-take, it’s par for the course in a deliberately silly web of contradictions and nonsense; by the time we’ve reached the final act, we’ve encountered dead bodies, an unexpected trip the theatre and a man smoking a cigarette through his stomach. Dupieux crafts a wonderfully timeless atmosphere in a 70s-tinged office that appears to exist in an isolated limbo, and his editing is deliciously precise, creating chaos and momentum from what is essentially two people talking.
It helps that the cast are more than up to the task, with Benoit Poelvoorde’s detective remaining gruff and deadpan, even as Gregoire Ludig’s non-suspect evolves from calm and confident to confused, uncertain and increasingly panicked. Marc Fraize’s clueless Philippe and Anais Demoustier’s sharp Fiona are the icing on a cake that’s baked just well enough to stay fresh in the face of the police station’s stale office vibe, Things move from rapid-fire witticisms to bizarre non-sequiturs, without ever losing their pleasingly oddball tone. It might not be as weird as a psychic, homicidal car tyre, but that’s not saying much. Needless to say, Quentin Dupieux fans won’t be disappointed.
Keep an Eye Out is not currently available on UK VOD.