Albert (Jason Schwatzmann) hires the Jaffe’s (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin), a pair of existential detectives, to uncover the significance of the random African gentleman who he has crossed paths with for some time. Is it a coincidence or something deeper?
Yep, it’s the kind of film you’ll either hate or love. That said I am on the fence with this one. I admire certain aspects of it, but it proves an exhausting trip to nowhere that you take for no tangible reason and will likely forget within weeks.
Maybe existential detectives might be able to tell us why some people find this entrancing…
As it is it appears very much like a bunch of top notch Hollywood actors taking a fly at something unusual, hoping that it might prove the year’s ‘unexpected success’, the critical darling that actually makes money.
Jude Law and Naomi Watts are pretty people with ultimately different intentions. Mark Wahlberg is the tough and rugged fireman trying to find his sensitive side while dealing with rage issues, and Isabelle Huppert plays the business rival to the kooky Jaffes, because of course existential detectives have business rivals.
The film is chock full of meet cutes, strange happenings and partially clever dialogue that you want to admire but can’t. It is a film that demands your love or hatred, only without sufficient justification to elicit either emotion. In fact the only true emotions in this film were apparently between the cast and the director, which lead to screaming matches and vows to never work again.
If only some of that energy and passion spilled onto the screen…
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Here was the classic opportunity to make the world’s first great film about existential detectives. Alas the task will now fall to someone else.