Tip Top Screen 10 articles

Tip Top

2013

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  • The aim of the humor seems so calculated, yet what is added to on screen, block by block—as the film has an effect of staccato decoupage and sequencing—is a bizarreness whose tone has little in common with the overriding sense of humor. Something seems subtly off, odd, and unidentifiable, as if this kind of movie, made this way, set in this kind of place, with this kind of story, is trespassing somewhere it shouldn't, provoking new channels through which something strange can flood in.

  • Bozon’s efforts to mix pointed commentary with broad comedy never really come off. Huppert and Kiberlain are fun to watch (especially if you know French—subtitles don’t really do Huppert’s heavily stylized performance justice), but their antics bear almost no relation to the sluggish procedural that unfolds whenever they’re offscreen, and it’s unclear exactly what Esther and Sally’s sex lives have to do with their job, or with France’s shameful treatment of its Algerian underclass.

  • The humor of this situation — or of any of the movie’s strained wackiness — doesn’t particularly translate. It also does little to illuminate the more serious commentary on immigration, the legacy of colonialism and the tensions within the country’s Algerian communities.

  • Damiens gives the show-stopping turn in Serge Bozon’s comedy thriller Tip Top: his hilariously deranged outburst of racist rhetoric at the start is one of those "force of nature" outbursts that are a French cinema specialty, in the Gabin/Depardieu tradition, and horribly entertaining.

  • ...Bozon allows the wildly hilarious and the grimly serious to uneasily coexist, exulting in the resultant clash... From private vices to public outpourings of anger, Tip Top captures an entire emotional world. Fittingly, then, it doesn't so much come to a neat finish as simply stop, a sudden cut to black suggesting, in hilariously breath-catching fashion, a sense of life continuing on, warts and all, even if the camera itself has decided not to follow.

  • Though rife with humor and intrigue, this 2013 French-Belgian coproduction can't really be categorized as comedy or suspense; as in La France (2007), the previous directorial effort of French actor and critic Serge Bozon, a curious deadpan approach suggests several genres mashed together (there are also moments of poignant psychodrama and a bizarre song-and-dance number). The freewheeling narrative experimentation and cryptic social commentary recall 60s Godard, but the vibe is Bozon's own.

  • An utterly brazen mix of screwball comedy, film noir and sharp social commentary that hits its own strange bullseye more often than not, Bozon’s third full-length feature (and first since 2007’s WWI musical, “La France”) benefits immeasurably from actors willing to go as far out on a limb as their intrepid director.

  • Bozon delivers fast and whimsical wordplay (in French and Arabic), erotic misunderstandings, and pinball-sharp comic choreography, even while setting the action at France’s most conflict-riddled crossroads—the country’s transformation into a multicultural society.

  • Tip Top, Bozon’s latest, upends categories: This sui generis policier audaciously balances slapstick with a fiercely intelligent probing of the still-knotty legacy of France’s colonialist past.

  • Ending scenes with the abruptness of a judge bringing down his gavel and cutting from barely decipherable night shots to blinding white walls, Bozon keeps us in a state of anxious receptivity, a degree of attention amply rewarded by Tip Top’s complex layers of meaning and risqué pleasures.

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