Jan Kounen  



At first, this French/Dutch film-maker seemed primed to take over the world of stylish and insane violence with some wild shorts and the ultra-violent Dobermann, then he went off the deep end with a new-age fixation on Shamanism and drugs. This was followed by some wildly different movies and it's anyone's guess what he will do next. His films are usually creatively filmed, often energetic, full of colorful characters and twisted flourishes of stylish depravity and violence. Reviewed until 2016.

Recommended

Dobermann  
A very stylish, slam-bang, hyperactive, unrelentingly brutal action piece from France about a group of twisted, energetic thugs, each with a fleshy personality, their smart super-cool leader, and the policeman obsessed with catching them. The twist is that the policeman is even more brutal and wild than the criminals and will stop at nothing to get at them, including beating up and raping the Dobermann's girlfriend. The depravity and violence levels reach a new high as the angry cop and wild criminals keep escalating the cat-and-mouse game, all filmed with superbly dynamic and intense cinematography.

99 Francs  
An above-average blend of Fight-Club-style cinematography and brutally honest deconstruction of society, Kounen's hyperkinetic cinematography and colorful characters from Dobermann, and some drug-induced surreal scenes from his more recent forays, all wrapped in a movie about marketing, and the despicably manipulative and arrogant people at the forefront of this world. It doesn't have much to say that is new or insightful, but you will have a hell of ride anyways exploring the life of a decadent, hip, marketing creative consultant. He butts heads with an old-school customer who wants boring ads in some of the movie's best scenes, has many insanely decadent parties, takes many drugs, with the creative and surreal cinematography managing to take us on head-trips with him while still maintaining the satire, and he rides a whirlwhind romance with a sexy co-worker until his world starts falling apart.

Of Some Interest

Vibroboy  
With art direction by the darkly creative Marc Caro and the insane direction of Kounen, this 30 minute short is as insane as its promise. A transvestite lives in a trailer park next to a married couple. The husband, an insanely jealous man, thinks his neighbour is after him or his wife, or both. When tempers flare, an ancient Mexican artefact releases its evil and the husband turns into Vibroboy, a psychotic being with a huge metal dildo. Crazy entertaining stuff.

Last Red Riding Hood, The  
Another short collaboration between Kounen and Marc Caro in the form of a dark and demented musical fairy-tale. A deformed human-monster with attached machines (Caro) kills a bunch of red-riding-hoods, but one escapes while losing her legs and innocence. She now hunts down the last Hood for her legs while people dressed as mushrooms and woodland critters dance and sing, and a wolf (man with ears and muzzle) has an agenda of his own.

Capitaine X  
Unfinished short about a platoon of insane psychotics who are executing some prisoners... or trying to. The film is seen through the eyes of a condemned man, but no matter how many times they try to kill him, he doesn't die. Wild panic ensues. Amusing.

Worthless

Blueberry  
What a mess. Loosely based on comics which I am not acquainted with, this hybrid of peyote-based soul journey and the Western genre tells the story of a marshall who lost his whore-love to murder and has inner demons to face while battling with brutal gold-treasure-seekers. Befriended by spiritual Native Americans, he takes drugs to find himself, and fight his enemies, both inside and out. Beautiful cinematography, but the combination of overused and uncomfortable actors, too many messy plot elements, none of which are explored fully, and overlong, bizarre but tedious CGI animations while he goes on mind-trips, all sink this movie down.




2000- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents