The time travel subgenre is one of most fascinating genres of film and can be executed in various unique ways that are different from each other. For example, ‘Back to the Future’ has different rules to ‘Primer’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame’. And ‘Incredible But True’ is another, new, example.
‘Incredible But True’ is a French film written and directed by Quentin Dupieux (Rubber, Deerskin) and follows Alain (Alain Chabat – The Science of Sleep) and Marie (Léa Drucker – War of the Worlds) as they move into a new house. But, during their viewing, the estate agent tells them that the house holds an amazing and life changing secret.
This was a film that had its UK premiere at London’s Frightfest film festival earlier this year much to positive reviews. So, after all the positive feedback, I was intrigued and excited for the film. However, this is an example of what happens when high expectations can lead to disappointment.
Alain Chabat and Léa Drucker have the responsibility of carrying the film and they do this comfortably enough. Their chemistry as a couple who struggle with the house’s unique aspect is very well acted. They have vastly different personalities which makes the overall conflict of the film interesting to watch: Marie wants to continue exploring the new discovery to an obsessive level, while Alain is happy with where he is in life and doesn’t feel the need to do so. Through these characters, ‘Incredible But True’ beautifully commentates on the way in which people obsess over their appearance in an attempt to look younger, and cling onto the past. It also could be argued that it demonstrates why nostalgia and ‘looking back’ can be a bad thing that affects people’s mental health.
It’s a strange film where the weirdness is further emphasized by its musical score. The 8-bit styled score was written by first time composer Jon Santo and is wonderful. It perfectly captures the concept and the new feelings the couple have surrounding their new home and new surroundings. But it also perfectly reflects the strange secret the house has, and the innocent wonder Léa has with it, which leads to her unfortunate downfall.
However, while it’s an interesting concept and the acting is decent, the house’s unique ability reveals itself way too early, causing the film to drag its feet the rest of the way. The pacing is too slow for the plot the film is given and it would’ve worked better as a 30-minute short film instead. Plus, the dialogue was very tiresome. Admittedly, I have not watched a lot of French films and so am not familiar with the structure that they have in terms of pacing and dialogue delivery, but it takes ages for any character to get to the point of their conversation and it happens a lot. This made it a very frustrating and exhausting watch at times.
‘Incredible But True’ has a lot to say about people’s obsession with keeping up appearances as well as clinging onto the past no matter what, and it had a fascinating concept. However, its tediously slow pacing and frustrating dialogue made it a challenging watch unfortunately. After hearing the good reviews coming out of its Frightfest screening, expectations were high. But this was an unfortunate disappointment that was desperately in need of another edit. This was not that Incredible sadly.
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