The Movie Waffler New to MUBI - INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE | The Movie Waffler


A curious feature in their new home threatens a couple's relationship.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Quentin Dupieux

Starring: Alain Chabat, Léa Drucker, Benoît Magimel, Anaïs Demoustier

incredible but true poster

A sentient tyre goes on a killing spree. A man becomes obsessed with ridding the world of every jacket save for his own treasured deerskin. Two friends train a giant fly to pull off bank heists. You certainly can't accuse French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux of not coming up with arresting ideas. What you can sometimes accuse him of is failing to stretch those ideas to a justifiable feature length. Such is the case with his latest, Incredible but True, which boasts a setup Rod Serling would be proud of but which begins to wear a bit thin by the hour mark.

Incredible but True review

That setup sees married couple Alain (Alain Chabat) and Marie (Léa Drucker) view a house with a very special feature. As the estate agent (Stéphane Pézerat) reveals, in the basement is a manhole that opens to reveal a tunnel. Thing is, once you emerge from the tunnel you find yourself not in some underground cavern but on the top floor of the house. Not only that, but you've just jumped ahead 12 hours in time. Oh, and you're also three days younger.

It's the latter benefit that attracts Marie to the tunnel. After she and Alain move in, she becomes obsessed with taking trips down the tunnel, constantly checking herself in the mirror for any visible signs of de-aging. She becomes convinced her breasts are getting firmer, but Alain claims he can feel no difference. With Marie losing 12 hours every time she enters the tunnel, Alain finds himself living with a wife he only sees for a few minutes every evening as she gradually does indeed begin to age backwards.

Incredible but True review

A subplot sees Alain's horndog boss Gerard (Benoît Magimel) undergo surgery to have a certain part of his anatomy "enhanced" with electronic technology, much to the approval of his younger girlfriend Jeanne (Anaïs Demoustier). Through the two story strands, Dupieux examines our desire to maintain our youth and the desperate measures we'll take to do so. Alain refuses to use the tunnel, as he's quite happy going old and grey. Alain simply wants to be left alone to enjoy life, something he gets to do with his wife practically never around as she bathes in the fountain of youth. One telling montage sees an increasingly graying Alain enjoying the simple pleasures of fishing by a lake with a dog at his side while Marie, at this point resembling a teenager, drives herself mad in her quest to become a model.

While it's essentially an absurdist satire, a final reveal sees Incredible but True take a turn into the realm of body horror. It's a twist worthy of EC Comics, but I suspect it would have had more impact if it came at the end of a 30 minute segment of a horror anthology rather than a 74 minute feature film.

Incredible but True review

That's not to say Incredible but True is ever dull. Even in some passages where it feels Dupieux is struggling to stretch out his story, the performances of his central quartet keep us involved with their commitment to his unique vision. With his earlier American shot films, you got the sense that the actors weren't quite sure what they were involved in, which admittedly sometimes added to the absurdist quality. Since he's recently begun working in his homeland, he's been able to assemble casts that are fully tuned into his wavelength. It's hard to imagine any American actor pulling off Jean Dujardin's performance from Deerskin, and likewise, Chabat, Drucker, Magimel and Demoustier inhabit their quirky roles in a manner few actors outside of France could do with such conviction. The highlight of the film sees all four gathered around a dinner table for a revelation that Dupieux stretches out with the skill of Hitchcock teasing his audience with the threat of a bomb about to detonate.

Incredible But True is on MUBI UK now.