Tuesday, May 19, 2009

La Moustache

La Moustache ultimately fails to live up to its wonderful trailer. It has an absurdly wonderful premise that unfortunately doesn't pay off in the end. Maybe it was too much to hope for.

The first two thirds of the movie work very well. A man shaves his moustache, after which his wife and all his friends refuse to acknowledge that he ever had one. At first he's just pissed, thinking they're all having a laugh at his expense. But when he comes to believe his wife isn't lying to him, then the alternative he must accept is that he's going mad. Things go downhill for him from there as other details about his life begin to unravel.

Then he goes to China for some reason, and all the tension that has been building just dissolves. Eventually everything ends just as suddenly as it began. Was he momentarily crazy? Was it a prank? The movie doesn't try to explain, and doesn't even give clues for the audience to mull over afterward. What starts out as a very intriguing story ends up fizzling out into a kind of non-story. One day things got weird, and then one day they got un-weirded. There is no apparent point or explanation for anything.

I don't mind a little vagueness in my movies. Sometimes a movie can be completely confounding and still leave me with the impression that at least something happened (Swimming Pool comes to mind). Or the ending is ridiculous, but the journey was so entertaining it doesn't matter (The Game). But La Moustache comes up short on both ends. It's like Chaplin's 'stache when it should have been Dali's.

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