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Dolph Springer wakes up one morning to realize he has lost the love of his life, his dog, Paul. During his quest to get Paul (and his life) back, Dolph radically changes the lives of others -- risking his sanity all the while.
For more about Wrong and the Wrong Blu-ray release, see Wrong Blu-ray Review published by Michael Reuben on June 11, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Jack Plotnick, Alexis Dziena, William Fichtner, Eric Judor, Steve Little, Regan Burns
Director: Quentin Dupieux
» See full cast & crew
Wrong Blu-ray Review
That's Just . . .
Reviewed by Michael Reuben, June 11, 2013
It might seem hard to follow up Rubber, a film-within-a-film about a killer tire with telekinetic powers, but if anyone could do it, it would be French writer/director Quentin Dupieux. Unlike his earlier feature, which consciously mocked the conventions of cinema, Dupieux's Wrong at least pretends to follow a traditional plot with a beginning, middle and end. It's almost as if Dupieux were responding to his critics: "See? I can do it too!" Of course, he does it his way. Viewers expecting a conventional story will still be frustrated, because Dupieux remains a provocateur, delighting in incongruous characters and events that arrive not just from left field but from another dimension. Most tellers of tales at least try for verisimilitude. Dupieux goes for the opposite—the stranger, the better.
The core of Wrong is the quest by Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick, a Rubber alum) to find his beloved dog, Paul, who is missing one morning when Dolph awakes. Dolph's relationship with Paul appears to be the most important thing in a life that, while materially comfortable and conducted in attractive surroundings, is beset by odd events and inexplicable anxiety. (The city is American but unnamed.) For one thing, there are the clocks. Their timekeeping is accurate but bizarre. When the hour reaches the end of the fifty-ninth minute, it doesn't flip over into the next hour but into the sixtieth minute of the same hour. This recurring motif is a constant visual reminder that even the most mundane elements of Dolph's world defy expectations. Or maybe it's just this way since Paul disappeared . . . Dolph is a sad sack who is intelligent but seems resigned to accepting the world around him as unfathomable. When his gardener, Victor (Eric Judor), shows him that the palm tree in his backyard has mysteriously morphed into a pine, Dolph takes it in stride and approves the planting of a new palm (for $500). When a surly cop (Mark Burnham) refuses to tell him why his usual route to work is blocked—indeed, he goes out of his way to be rude about it—Dolph lets it pass. The fact that Dolph still goes to work three months after he was fired further attests to his ability to tune out life's discordant elements. (Dolph's office, for a job that is never specified, is one of Dupieux's most inspired inventions. Water pours down from the ceiling sprinklers, while everyone sits at their desk going about their paperwork—a perfect metaphor for the mind-numbing futility of office routine. Meanwhile, Boss Gabrielle (Ardin Myrin) sits comfortably in a dry private office with a stack of neatly folded towels, and anyone summoned to see her must dry themselves off before they're allowed to sit.) Every so often, something catches Dolph's attention and demands further scrutiny. When he crosses the street to ask his neighbor, Mike (Regan Burns), whether Mike saw Paul on his morning jog, Mike denies that he jogs, even though Dolph routinely sees him running. Pressed by Dolph, Mike reveals that he's packing his car to leave for good. It's as if he's fleeing his entire existence in order to find, well, something. Mike doesn't know what or where he'll find it. Periodically throughout Wrong, Dolph checks in with Mike as his journey of discovery continues, out into the void. Another item that fascinates Dolph is the menu in his mailbox from a new pizza place called Jesus Organic Pizza. Its logo is a rabbit riding a motorcycle, and Dolph finds it so perplexing that he calls the establishment to inquire about it. The result is a lengthy discussion with a chirpy waitress named Emma (Alexis Dziena), who is so taken with Dolph's unique slant on things that she sends him a free pizza with a sexual proposition tucked inside. When Dolph tosses the pizza box without opening it, the result is a subplot of mistaken identity that winds through the rest of the film, becoming increasingly surreal as it progresses. Dolph's quest to find Paul takes a new direction when he receives a series of messages directing him to contact the mysterious Master Chang (the memorably bizarre William Fichtner, using an unidentifiable accent). A guru of human and canine relations, Master Chang mixes oracular pronouncements with practical solutions. The latter includes hiring a phlegmatic detective named Ronnie (Steve Little), who dresses like Indiana Jones and applies advanced scientific methods such as recovering "memories" from dog turds left by Paul in Dolph's backyard. (When you think about it, it's no more improbable than any of the "science" they dreamed up on Fringe.) Master Chang is also the author of a multi-volume treatise that teaches such New Age techniques as communicating telepathically with one's dog, a technique that Dolph believes he may be able to master and use to find Paul. As it happens, Master Chang is already familiar with some (but not all) of the circumstances surrounding Paul's disappearance from Dolph's home, and he also explains the strange fire in a panel truck with which the film opens. (In a typical Dupieux tableaux, the firemen called to subdue the blaze sit around watching the truck burn, while one of them takes the time to complete his morning defecation in the middle of the road.) But the solution to recovering Paul comes to Master Chang in a dream that he relates to Dolph, which Dolph receives with the same quizzical acceptance that seems to be his default setting. Meanwhile, several characters may or may not have passed away, while Mike continues driving into the void.
Wrong Blu-ray, Video Quality
Dupieux photographs his own films. While Rubber was shot with a standard Canon digital camera, Wrong was photographed with a prototype model that Dupieux built himself with the help of a friend. (In pictures, it is labeled "HD-KOI", but no camera by that name is currently offered for sale or rental.) Whatever the camera's specs, it overcame the source-based limitations noted in Casey Broadwater's review of Rubber. Artifacts such as aliasing and moiré shimmer are wholly absent. The image on the 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray from Image Entertainment and Drafthouse Films is truly stunning. It provides superb clarity and detail without any of the harsh edges or textures from which digital capture sometimes suffers. The blacks are solid, and the contrast is excellent without being overstated, even in bright sunlight (a particularly important element in rendering the desert scenes of Mike's driving "quest"). The color reproduction is beautifully delicate, given the obviously careful composition and production design; colors are realistic, but just slightly intensified, so that otherwise ordinary scenes become eye-catching. (Dupieux clearly wants his films to be visually arresting, even when he photographs something ordinary.) Note, for example, the finely coordinated beiges and pastels inside Dolph's tastefully appointed home—a truly absurdist touch, given that it's the residence of a single man who obviously wouldn't invest the effort to deal with such matters. Dupieux's camera even picks up variations in the shade of blue applied to the two vehicles that receive rush paint jobs during the course of the film. (Don't ask.) None of the typical digital artifacts, such as banding, presented themselves, or if they did, I was too distracted by the nutty plot to notice. With its exceptional average bitrate of 35.00 Mbps, Wrong presented no issues with compression.
Wrong Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Wrong's soundtrack is provided in lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1, and it's a solid, effective presentation. Sound cues are as significant as everything else in the film, and they're frequently serious when you think they're satirical. For example, when Dolph first rises on the morning when he'll discover that his dog is missing, a portentous music cue is heard several times, as if Dupieux were parodying a suspense film. But as it turns out, something is dreadfully wrong. It's not a parody; it's the genuine article. As in Rubber, the soundtrack doesn't attempt to create an immersive soundfield or place elaborate effects all around. The dialogue is clearly rendered, and the musical score, credited to Tahiti Boy and Mr. Oizo (the latter being Dupieux's stage name when he performs as a musician) has a gently pleasing sound.
Wrong Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Wrong Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Wrong is the kind of film that needs to be seen more than once. It creates its own world and establishes its own internal logic that eventually sweeps up the viewer, just like any work of fantasy. It reminds me of cult classics by directors like Robert Downey, Sr. or John Waters that, in the days before home video, would attract repeat viewers to the same theaters week after week, often at midnight showings where both patrons and staff were punchy from lack of sleep (and other things), and fans acknowledged each other by quoting lines or referencing plot points. The appeal of such works has always been their refusal to respect anything remotely resembling convention, but somehow they manage to create a film that works on its own terms. Individual mileage may vary, but for my taste Wrong is one of those. Highly recommended, with a big warning label.
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Wrong Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Wrong Blu-ray & Autographed Poster - June 9, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Image Entertainment are offering two members an opportunity to win a Blu-ray copy of Wrong and a full-sized movie poster autographed by director Quentin Deupieux. The surreal comedy stars Jack Plotnick, Todd Giebenhain and Eric Judor, and arrives ...
• Wrong Blu-ray - April 10, 2013
Image Entertainment will release on Blu-ray the Drafthouse Films produced surreal comedy Wrong (2012). Directed by Quentin Dupieux (Rubber) and starring Jack Plotnick, Todd Giebenhain, and Eric Judor, Wrong will be available for purchase on June 11th.
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