Keep an Eye Out

Keep an Eye Out

2021, NR, 73 min. Directed by Quentin Dupieux. Starring Benoît Poelvoorde, Grégoire Ludig, Marc Fraize, Anaïs Demoustier, Jacky Lambert, Orelsan, Philippe Duquesne.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., March 19, 2021

Sooner or later, it may get to the point where the most radical move that filmmaker/prankster Quentin Dupieux could deliver would be a straight-up formalist narrative, an about face from the meta wormholes he fashions. Thankfully, we are not there yet, but one could argue that 2018’s Keep an Eye Out (finally getting a proper stateside release after its 2018 release in France) is one of his more accessible films. That is not to say it isn’t filled with Dupieux’s constant and playful testing of the thematic dimensions on the nature of film itself. His trademark pretzel logic is front and center, but subdued in the service of a shaggy dog police procedural. It’s the most satisfyingly funny film he’s made so far in his career.

"This is so pedestrian, it’s just a totally boring chain of events," laments chief inspector Buron (Poelvoorde). He has brought in Fugain (Ludig), for questioning regarding a body that Fugain has found outside of his apartment complex. As Buron exhaustively interrogates Fugain to explain how he made seven trips to and from his apartment before discovering the body, Dupieux introduces a number of complications that derail the investigation. There’s Phillipe, the chief inspector’s one-eyed co-worker, a dim bulb who is quite fond of his badge. There’s Buron’s obsession with parsing out the quotidian details of Fugain’s story and linguistic hijinks involving not just the film’s title, but also the banal overuse of the word “actually” after every sentence (or more precisely, “c'est pour ça”), innovative methods of consuming oysters, and the dangers of walking around with a protractor. It all arrives at a rewarding crescendo befitting for a film that begins with a maestro conducting an orchestra in his underwear.

As with Dupieux’s best films (Reality, Deerskin), the clever absurdity is grounded with excellent performances. Benoît Poelvoorde, perhaps eternally known for Man Bites Dog, gives a brilliant spin on the archetype of the quirky detective and Grégoire Ludig’s beleaguered and ill-fated Fugain is his perfect counterpoint. If you are unfamiliar with Dupieux’s cinema of meta shenanigans, Keep an Eye Out serves as a solid starting point. For those already indoctrinated, it’s another welcome dispatch from cinema’s premier purveyor of perplexing paradoxes.

Available as a virtual cinema release.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Quentin Dupieux
Two Wrongs Make a Right
Two Wrongs Make a Right
Quentin Dupieux is back with 'Wrong Cops'

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 17, 2014

So 'Wrong,' but So Right
So 'Wrong,' but So Right
Quentin Dupieux on plots, puzzles, and police

Richard Whittaker, March 29, 2013

More Quentin Dupieux
DVDanger: The Story of Cinema, Part Two
DVDanger: The Story of Cinema, Part Two
The Editor and Reality, movies about movies

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 9, 2015

Doing 'Wrong' Right
Doing 'Wrong' Right
Double Dupieux? Don't mind if we do.

Monica Riese, March 20, 2013

More Quentin Dupieux Films
Deerskin
Wrong director goes, well, wrong in this film-making spoof

Richard Whittaker, April 30, 2020

Wrong Cops
French musician-filmmaker-writer-editor Quentin Dupieux (Rubber) returns with more lo-fi absurdism.

Marc Savlov, Jan. 17, 2014

More by Josh Kupecki
The French Dispatch
Wes Anderson's candy-colored tribute to The New Yorker

Oct. 22, 2021

Needle in a Timestack
Time-travel drama proves the rich can even mess up causality

Oct. 15, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Keep an Eye Out, Quentin Dupieux, Benoît Poelvoorde, Grégoire Ludig, Marc Fraize, Anaïs Demoustier, Jacky Lambert, Orelsan, Philippe Duquesne

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle