Incredible But True is so bombastically silly that it’s somehow brilliant: Sydney Film Festival Review

  • Peter Gray
  • June 13, 2022
  • Comments Off on Incredible But True is so bombastically silly that it’s somehow brilliant: Sydney Film Festival Review

The type of filmmaker who’s able to create stories so bombastically silly that they are somewhat brilliant, Quentin Dupieux once again expresses straight-faced frivolity in Incredible But True, a tightly-paced (a lean 74 minutes) twilight-zoned comedy that, somehow, is one of his more level-headed features in spite of its ludicrous plot.

Said ludicrous plot revolves around Alain (Alain Chabat) and Marie (Léa Drucker), a happily married couple who have seemingly found their dream home.  Their real estate agent hopes to sweeten the deal by informing the two that in the basement of their house lays a certain amenity so unique that their house will undoubtedly be unbeaten on the market; “We’re not basement people” is their initial reaction when brought to the depths of the house.

A duct that must be closed whenever an occupant ladders down inside leads them back inside their own house from an above portal, both now 12 hours in the future, yet 3 days younger.  Alain seems more baffled by the fact that going down the duct leads to the top of the house, whilst Marie soon becomes intrigued with the idea that enough visits can turn back her body clock; we’re unsurprised when this novelty turns to a dangerous obsession.

Alain, not thinking much of its potential, hopes to share the news with Gerard (Benoît Magimel), his irksome boss, and his girlfriend, Jeanne (Anaïs Demoustier), over a casual housewarming dinner; after all, Gerard has shared the news that he has had an electric penis installed (“You can steer it!”), so it only seems fair to return the favour with equally bizarre information.  Marie is less inclined, wanting to keep their time-duct to themselves, laying the first seeds of suggestion of how brutally obsessed she is with reclaiming her youth.

Soon, Incredible But True – which could really be a statement about both an electric penis transplant and the upside-down world festering beneath the home – becomes a chaotic journey for each of its couples, with one half of each pairing staying level-headed, whilst the other is driven to madness by their own selfish desires; Dupieux makes sure his message on staying young in any type of manufactured fashion isn’t expressed in a subtle manner by the end of proceedings.

On the subject of endings, Incredible But True‘s third act plays largely to its clipped running time as Dupieux opts for a montage approach over continuing any type of traditional narrative; well, as traditional a sci-fi-leaning comedy about time travel and electric appendages can be.  It’s an amusing take to summarise the actions of his characters, and though there’s much laughter to be shared, it culminates in furthering the underlying tragedy of his characters’ actions.

If you’ve warmed to Dupieux’s bizarre storytellings thus far, there’s no reason why Incredible But True won’t entice you in the same way that a sadistic car tire (Rubber) or a killer obsession over a designer deerskin jacket (Deerskin) have prior.  As inexplicable as much of this film is though, the surprising logic in its central tragedies mean it maintains a sense of grounding, allowing such a story to serve as a cautionary tale to the dangers of youth enhancement.  Incredibe but true, indeed.


Incredible But True is screening as part of this year’s Sydney Film Festival, running between June 8th and 19th, 2022.  For more information head to the official SFF page.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.