Friday, March 17, 2017

Dealer (2014) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 98
Movie Name/Year: Dealer (2014)
Tagline: Welcome to Cocoland.
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Length: 74 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Multipass Prod, mad Films-Mi
Producer: Dan Bronchinson, Jean Mach
Director: Jean Luc Herbulot
Writer: Samy Baaroun, Jean Luc Herbulot
Actors: Dan Bronchinson, Elsa Madeleine, Salem Kali, Bruno Henry, Herve Babadi, Dimitri Storoge, Fatima Adoum, Didier Merigou, Maia Bonami, Tchewk Essafi, Sylvie Molinari, Lele Matelo, Sebastian Barrio, Yoni Nahum, Emmanuel Bonami, Franck Boss, Destin Lenord
Stunt Coordinator: Alain Figlarz

Speech Available: French
Subtitles Available: French, English

Blurb from Netflix: A small-time drug dealer hopes one last big score will send him toward a new life, but the next 24 hours will propel him on a dark and terrifying path.

Selina’s Point of View:
This was another film where the subtitles didn’t always match up to the dialogue of the film. That’s a huge problem because Dealer is VERY dialogue intensive. In fact, there was so much dialogue that it was impossible at some points to actually watch the film itself. When I could watch the visuals, there was so much torture porn that it didn’t sit well with me.

Now, I have seen plenty of torture-y films in the past. I’ve LIKED plenty of them. But there was something so disturbing about this one that it was hard for me to stomach. It was all essential to the plot, so that had nothing to do with it. There was minimal eye stuff as well. I don’t know why I was so disturbed by what I saw. I guess that kind of thing just happens sometimes.

The movie itself didn’t really sit well with me, though. I enjoyed some of the characters and the acting was good, but I found the plot incredibly predictable.

Dealer tried to do something different with an old and well-known recipe, but different isn’t always good. We all love to see something original that keeps us on our toes… but a sardine milkshake is original, too, and likely on the gross side.

The creators of this film tried and I must commend them on the attempt to give a fresh directing take on something we’ve all seen a hundred times. Unfortunately, instead of making the film feel fresh and new – it turned Dealer into something barely watchable and difficult to sit through. It was only seventy minutes and I feel like I’ve been watching it for three hours.

Definitely not my thing.

Cat’s Point of View:
Ugh. That is pretty much how I can sum up my reaction to this movie.

To be fair to the film, let me break that down a bit. I’ll start with the bad news.

The movie was on the frenetic side. The subtitles went way too fast. I don’t have any grasp of French beyond a handful of words and Dealer used few of them. I had to rewind a few times to catch dialogue I’d missed because of this insane pacing – and then there were blips of text that had to have been visible for only a few frames total; making it damn near impossible to read even when rewound.

They tried to get too artsy with it. While some of the shots were a visual feast – it just seemed to be done for the hell of it. If there was any meaning to it, it was some sort of symbolism that was just too far-reaching for this movie. There are a few scenes that do some frantic panning around where there are people with faces blurred out in horrible large pixels. Did they go out and film real drug dealers to give the film ‘authenticity’? Was it that they wanted you to think that they had, even if they were paid extras on a closed set? If this were a documentary, I’d run with it – but it wasn’t.

Then there’s all the ‘grit’ added in general. It’s obvious throughout the movie that they’re doing the old-fashioned movie-reel experience as explained in Fight Club (1999) with the little symbols that appear for a frame or so. There might have even been a few random unrelated frames inserted here or there – I could swear I caught flashes.

There was too much torture-factor in this one for me. I mean, seriously, on the level of Saw (2003) or Hostel (2005). I’ve seen far worse gore in horror movies, but there was something about some of the brutality in this movie that just had me wincing and wanting to look away.

The bright spot here was the performance by Dan Brochinson (Brigade Navarro, Show Buzz, Alien Grounds). Even against my will, I was on this ride with him and I empathized with him. Hell, I was even rooting for the poor bastard.

Would I watch this again? No way.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 43%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R (Not recommended for children of any age)

P.S. According to remarks made by the lead actor of this film during a film festival, the majority of Dealer is based on real-life events.

Movie Trailer:

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