Mood Indigo Screen 16 articles

Mood Indigo


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  • Watched the original European cut, which runs over two hours and feels like four. Since a previous adaptation of Boris Vian's cult novel (2001's Chloe, from Japan) ranks among the worst films I've ever seen, it's entirely possible that Gondry did the best job possible, given the material and its unsuitability for the screen. All the same, this rivals The Zero Theorem for exhausting, anti-entertaining wackiness...

  • Gondry pulls off a bit of a twist on that sort of exaggerated whimsy, with little bits of morbidity that seem cute at first, but turn more sinister as they gradually overwhelm the sweet stuff. This dark disposition takes over as the film progresses, the color gradually draining from this candy painted world, but a precise handling of tone isn't enough to salvage an otherwise tonelessly exhausting film.

  • The results make your head spin more than they make your spirits soar. It’s unfortunate, since the filmmaker is among those few who can wow you simply by the fact of his seemingly boundless imagination.

  • It’s hard to get too invested in a movie that feels like discrete miniatures put together, and there’s just not much room for people to breathe... A music-video veteran is not going to botch weaving in Duke Ellington or any of the (two-disc) soundtrack selections, but while the handmade gadgetry has a droll appeal, it all ends up keeping one at arm’s length.

  • Maybe these conceits worked in print, but on film it’s seven layers of sugar-frosted whimsy that would choke Wes Anderson. Full of appealing actors mugging like crazy, it’s got amusing moments, but the overstuffed visuals suffocate real emotion.

  • Even at its abbreviated length, “Mood Indigo” soon feels almost desperately interminable, a wearying experience that resembles being locked in a very small room with an exceptionally bright, pathologically self-absorbed child who will not shut up or calm down... the book’s surrealism and its darkness (the ending is a killer) have defeated Mr. Gondry, who here sinks under the weight of unbearable lightness.

  • This is all incredible stuff. The sentence "How the hell did they do that?" appears more than once in my notes. But you'd be surprised—or maybe you wouldn't be surprised—how quickly it starts to seem tedious and then ultimately oppressive. What's the problem, exactly? Maybe it's that Gondry has made a live action cartoon with a rather patchy plot and flat characters, most of whom... are way too old to be playing characters who might seem immature even if they were played by teenagers.

  • There are a number of issues with Mood Indigo. One is that Gondry's old problems with narrative articulation are particularly pronounced here, since Vian's story requires a significant tonal shift that the director cannot really navigate. But more importantly, Vian's prose style is so saturated with off-the-wall imagery and skewed perspective, on a nearly sentence-by-sentence basis, that Gondry's adaptation of said prose comes across as overkill.

  • Mood Indigo is, by any sane criteria, a quixotic, even ill-advised folly. There’s a certain overexertion to it all—like Terry Gilliam, Gondry is a Stakhanovite of surrealism, always compelled to push things that little bit harder when you wish they’d been handled lightly. Yet it’s hard not to marvel at his ambition, to be struck by the sheer joy, and sometimes beauty on display here.

  • Gondry is a sunny, laid-back director — he’s too playful for the story’s darker overtones to really register. And so, the film never quite becomes the more profound thing it’s threatening to turn into. But it has an energy all its own, and Gondry’s voice is always welcome, and essential. Mood Indigo is somehow both unmissable and whisper-thin.

  • The director’s customary Wonka-like symposium of cultural references is on full throttle here as he assembles intricate stop motion, mini-oven canapés, Rubix Cube diaries and a Cronenbergian-like creation of a doorbell bug to dizzying effect. In fact, there’s quite a few similarities between Mood Indigo and Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch, not least their abstract nature, but also their commitment to fashioning an impressionistic portrait of a fierce literary source.

  • All the blisses of this movie wipe you out. The first hour is so happily innovative with its Richard Lester zip, and the last half-hour so forlorn (the Jean-Paul Sartre sight gags aren’t a joke). Gondry has such an incomparable understanding of the way in which strange and unexpected sights can tickle you. What he sometimes lacks as a filmmaker is the awareness that he can tickle an audience to death.

  • The most direct precedent for Gondry's film might be David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch, which responds with comparable imagination to the challenge of adapting an unfilmable novel. Both are highly personal works that filter the author's biography and literary style through the director's unique aesthetic. Mood Indigo is as much about Vian's Parisian adventures of the 1930s as it is about Gondry's nostalgia for a time and place that he didn't experience directly.

  • [Mood Indigo] is an evident labor of love. It is often labored but sometimes lovely, particularly in the longer version included on Drafthouse’s DVD and Blu-ray edition.

  • Gondry’s trademark contraptions and lo-fi special effects are a perfect fit for this material, and so, against the odds, he creates an experience that’s at once emotionally potent and visually delightful.

  • I don’t mean that Gondry’s Parisian love story “Mood Indigo” — believe it or not, the first narrative feature he’s made in French — is likely to be a huge hit; it’s too idiosyncratic and personal, not to mention too profoundly French, for that. But from its dazzling and inexplicable opening scene... this is Gondry at his most liberated and inventive.

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