Bye Bye Morons is playing in selected cinemas and Curzon Home Cinema on 23rd July.
What do you get when you cross a terminally ill hairdresser, a suicidal computer programmer, and a blind public servant? The answer is Albert Dupontel’s black comedy Bye Bye Morons. From the outset, it’s evident that time is not on Suze’s (Virginie Efira) side or ours as she searches for the abandoned child she gave birth to at fifteen, in a movie where characters dash out of scenes before they’re finished, to the comedic chagrin of their scene partners – the resulting triptych running at a breakneck pace.
However, while Bye Bye Morons is fast and loose, you quickly find yourself on board with its hyper-speed developments. The feeling of constantly losing time to what’s important is the key to understanding the characters, each of them already lost to time.
The result is an incredibly dark comedy laced with a series of hard-hitting subjects played lightly for laughs, including attempted suicide, gentrification, police brutality and surveillance states. Here each theme is smartly swirled into a whimsically macabre comedy of errors. However, despite the dark absurdity that Dupontel creates, there are moments when everything slows, allowing for emotional poignancy.
Dupontel ensures an endearing sweetness to the trio at the film’s heart, with a playful rivalry between Blin and Cuchas for Suze’s affection. While at the same time, Suze gradually relies on the pair for both assistance and comfort. The only downside is the growing romance between Cuchas and Suze that appears from nowhere – a romance that ultimately feels more like two mismatched friends than gradually developing lovers. However, considering Dupontel wrote and stars as the character who kisses Virginie Efira, perhaps this was an intentional move to grab a kiss.
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There is a fine line between poignant sweetness, and the macabre walked throughout the entire film before Dupontel decides to make a final allegiance to one side. Here, it is clear that although Bye-bye Morons has a zany black comedy attitude, there is a sweet sentiment beneath the humour. For example, Suze’s quest involves changing the lives of others, often for the better. While it may seem as though we are saying Bye Bye Morons, redemption for all three characters sits at the heart of the narrative journey – all three achieving a different outcome or a glimpse at a new life.
The resulting movie neither moves you to tears nor leaves you in hysterics. However, there is something to be said for Dupontel’s quick-paced, blunt and transparent world – a world embedded in a charm that draws you in, if only briefly.