Closing out day eight of Toronto After Dark 2012 was Wrong. The latest film from Quentin Dupieux, it was a crowd pleasing favourite, but I have to be honest and say it was the worst film of the entire festival.
Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick) wakes up one morning, at 7:60 am, to find that his dog is missing. This is the beginning of an insane journey that includes a palm tree turning into a pine tree, a strange woman who randomly moves in with Dolph, a workplace where it constantly rains inside, and an eventual telepathic link between Dolph and his dog, Paul.
A few years ago, Rubber played at TADFF. It’s gone on to be a very well received film, but it was something that I just didn’t enjoy. I had expected Rubber to be a hit, and was disappointed to find that it went well beyond not making sense into insane territory. To say that I wasn’t looking forward to Wrong is an understatement. I considered skipping the film entirely, but realized that I had to meet someone after the screening, so leaving early meant that I would have to wait around outside. Better to be warm and bored than cold and bored. When the film first began, I say a ray of hope shine through. Yes, Wrong is just as strange as Rubber was, but the lead character seemed like he would lead viewers through the madness. Like the title suggests, I was wrong.
The fact that there isn’t one character to play the straight man in Wrong, is the biggest problem. If Dolph was attempting to find his dog while the world around him seemed to be going crazy, that would give us somebody to connect with. As we watched the absurd happenings, Dolph would be able to represent us in the world of the film. Instead, Dolph is only slightly less strange than those around him. This makes the film a series of completely odd scenes where anything can happen. There’s only the most bare idea for a story, man loses dog, and many of the things that happen have little to do with his search. Even attempting an explanation of the scenes is pointless. If you’ve seen Rubber, you know what you’re in for. If you enjoyed Rubber, I’m sure this will be enjoyable as well.
The best thing I can say about Wrong is that I liked it a little bit more than Rubber. It’s slightly less absurd, but still way too strange. For me, this winds up being one of those films that people try to dissect and find meaning in, when in reality, there is no meaning. There’s just no point. I seem to be in the minority here, as almost everybody I spoke to thought Wrong was hilarious. I certainly didn’t find it funny, and the ending is so obvious. Of course, a movie about a man looking for his dog should only end one way, but if you’re going to make a film as strange as Wrong, shouldn’t the ending be equally as unexpected as the moments before it? It’s easy to sum things up here. If you enjoyed Rubber, you’ll enjoy Wrong. I’ll be avoiding this one though.
Under the marquee – Will