“I’m not very interested in meanings. Know what I mean?”
So says Quentin Dupieux, director of Wrong, in one of the making-of featurettes included on the DVD released this week. Anyone who watched his previous film, Rubber, should have a fairly solid sense of the style to expect here. In case you’re not familiar, Rubber was a film about a discarded tire who spontaneously becomes alive, self-aware, and murderously telekinetic. Playfully self-referential and gleefully surreal, it ostensibly serves as a horror film, though in truth it is more comic than disturbing.
The story told by Wrong might at first glance seem a little more down-to-earth–Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick, returning from Rubber) wakes up one morning to discover his beloved dog is missing, and in fact has been kidnapped–but this is a movie that defies a one-sentence description. Wrong is every bit as surreal as its predecessor, and in many ways much more ambitiously so.
Whereas Rubber’s production designers found surreal contexts for everyday objects, Wrong more aggressively transforms its objects and environments themselves. Witness Dupieux’s recurring spoof of the classic Alarm Clock Establishment Shot, a familiar device (used heavily in Groundhog Day, for instance) wherein a shot begins with a view of an alarm clock hanging at 7:59, which will inevitably be seen flipping over to 8:00. Dolph’s clock subverts our expectation in this context, flipping over to 7:60. These sorts of gags are funny (at least I think so), but they work not so much as jokes as they do like Zen koans.
Dupieux’s sensibilities certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but many fans of the screenwriting work of Charlie Kaufman will find his flavor at least a little familiar. Some may find his subversion of cinematic convention downright strange or even disturbing, but it’s pretty surprising how gently he handles such anarchic material. – [DVD]
DVD Release Date: 6/11/13