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I have heard it stated that reality is overrated. Then again I grew up in the sixties and seventies and minored in existential philosophy with my undergraduate degree so I’ve considered the subject from a variety of different perspectives. This background also leads to my long held fascination with movies that explore the vastness and malleability of the simple sounding phrase of ‘what is reality’. It has been debated by philosophers for millennium and serious investigated by serious scientists for centuries but we are still a very long way off from gleaning the surface of this subject. The up side of this is the theme remains a fertile ground for the ingenious storyteller willing to put traditional techniques and concepts off to the side while they playfully experiment with how we perceive what is real. Surrealism has been used as a means to promote an alternate means of artistic expression by painters and novelists for many years making it only natural to become a cinematic that employs the visual and audio inherent in the medium to warp the perception of the audience to achieve a departure from the tradition understanding of reality to place then in an alternate universe where the rules of nature are twisted often beyond recognition. The film ‘Wrong g’ is right on so many leaves as one of the better examples of surrealistic expression.

Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick) is ostensibly a functional member of society managing the traditional elements of life, friends, and a place of residence and a steady means of employment. Like millions of people he is a pet owner, specifically Paul his dog. It is reasonably normal for a person to consider a domesticated animal such as a dog or cat as a friend and even go so far as to view the as part of the family but even those of us that embrace that types of affection still realize our pet is still an animal. Dolph’s relationship with Paul is maintained on a significantly level, far beyond something what would warrant inclusion in a pet fancier ‘realty television series’, perhaps up to the intensity to sign up for ‘My Strange Obsession.’ Paul is quite literary the center of Dolph’s life, the raison d'êtr for his place and purpose on this planet. One day as the morning sun rises over his little suburban home Dolph awakens to discover Paul is missing. In the grand scheme of things this is undoubtedly a personal tragedy and sufficient to cause alarm but in the case here it is pulling the loose thread of the woolen sweater of Dolph’s life.

For those that believe in quantum string theory it is as if the cosmos dropped the stings of Dolph’s life imparting upon the order of chaos usually reserved for the morass of wires lying just behind the typical home theater set up. Whatever semblance to order might have been associated with his depressing life is definitely starting to unravel; tangling into the unrecognizable. The inexplicable disappearance of Paul becomes the catalyst for the fabric of reality has been challenged. His gardener Victor (Eric Judor), has an unusual piece of news for the homeowner, the palm tree that has adorned his yard has suddenly transformed into a pine. For $500 a new pine will be planted. Dolph seems to be taking this situation with an uncommonly flat affect. Next an unruly highway police officer, (Mark Burnham) is unreasonably discourteous to Dolph forcing him to take a lengthy detour on his way to work. Once again Dolph is abnormally not at all fazed at being made the target to outright hostility. While this trip to work is odd enough what truly compounds the bizarreness id Dolph was fired three months ago but still continues to show up. Once there the sprinkler system creates a downpour soaking everyone to the skin although they are oblivious to that condition. The boss of the office, Gabrielle (Ardin Myrin), sits alone in her dry office between supplies of towels available for any coming in with business for her to first dry off. When Dolph questions a neighbor, Mike (Regan Burns), whether he noticed Paul on his seen daily jog Mike denies that he has a habit of running. In Dolph’s mailbox is a flyer from Jesus Organic Pizza. Oddly, the logo is a rabbit riding a motor cycle. Now this catches his attention and he calls the pizza place. This pulls him into discussion with a store employer, Emma (Alexis Dziena). She is fascinated by his odd tale on reality sand sends him a promotional pizza complete with a serious innuendos attached, having fallen madly in love with him despite the extremely limited contact. Without a second thought Dolph discards the pizza unknowingly setting another chain of events into play. This is part of the context established within this story that the unexpected is to be expected. The strange substitution of reality continues unabated as our lamentable protagonist receives messages urging him to contact a mysterious person known as Master Chang (William Fichtner). He speaks in a blend of prognostication and sound bites from a self-help guru. With all this insanity whirling about him all that remains on Dolph’s mind, his sole motivation is being united with his beloved Paul.

Writer/ Director Quentin Dupieux is busy carving out a niche for himself among the aficionados of independent cinema particularly works that fall into the experimental realm of the art form. His previous movie, ‘Rubber’ considered the exploits of a tire manufactured from sentient rubber. It was a hysterically funny satire of the slasher flick tropes with a deliciously dark comedy foundation. Mr. Dupieux has taken of the task of reigniting a form of entertainment and social commentary that is exceptionally difficult to master, theater of the absurd. By taking familiar, mundane situations an exaggerating them to ridiculous extremes for the entertainment of the audience and perhaps provide a different way to understand the complexities of the world. while his prior movie took aim at the venerable genre of horror, ‘Wrong’ places in its crosshairs something by its denotation part of our everyday lives; routines. This film uses Dolph to demonstrate just how entrenched we are in our familiar routines. Even when something impossible occurs we continue like automatons performing our tasks by route and viewing the world with the myopic validation of the expected. There is an actual neurophysiological concept that covers this referred to as change blindness that permits us to remain oblivious to the most drastic, even ridiculous changes right in front of our eyes. This movie is admittedly not for everyone. If you enjoy having your sense of reality tweaked or our expectations concerning the traditional construction of a film challenged this is the ideal movie for you.

Phase 7: The Making Of A Nonfilm
The Wrong Behind The Scenes
Memories Of A Dog Turd
Theatrical Trailers
20 Page Booklet Featuring Introduction By Eric Wareheim

Posted 07/19/2013

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