Bye Bye Morons is playing in selected cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema from 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 15. 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, the key to understanding the characters, each of them, already lost to time. Here, we find Suze, terminally ill, Cuchas’ (Albert Dupontel) life’s work shifted to upstart younglings, and Blin (Nicolas Marié) blinded after a police intervention gone awry.
The result is an incredibly dark comedy with a series of hard-hitting subjects played lightly for laughs, including attempted suicide, gentrification, police brutality and surveillance states. Each theme smartly swirled into a whimsically macabre comedy of errors. However, despite the dark absurdity that Dupontel creates, there are moments where everything slows, allowing for emotional poignancy among our trio during their quest.
Dupontel ensures an endearing sweetness to the trio, 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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A fine line between poignant sweetness and macabre absurdity is walked throughout the entire film before Dupontel decides to make a final allegiance to one of the two sides. Here, it is clear that although Bye-bye Morons has a zany black comedy attitude, there is a sweet sentiment laying beneath the humour. For example, Suze’s quest involves changing the lives of others, often for the better. And 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 glimpse at a new life. The revelation that life needn’t end the way we assume baked into the journey.
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.