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All Critics (24)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (15)
| Rotten (9)
"Mammuth" has the distressed, gritty look of a 1970s movie. (It was shot on Super 16 reversal film.) But it takes its cues from some of the less-appealing aspects of that era's freewheeling style, in particular a sort of curdled whimsy.
Too limp and scattershot to warrant anything stronger than indifference...
Depardieu makes the most of it. Because of him, such surreal Gallic scuzziness has rarely seemed so sweetly tender.
The gauche humour of 'Mammuth' camouflages a sweet torch song to the struggles of the working class in the face of private- and public-sector indifference.
Cynical and sentimental by turns, Mammuth takes a ride on the wild side, but well within speed limits.
A wan road comedy with pretensions that can be jettisoned for the inevitable John Travolta remake.
Depardieu is a very shaggy beastie in this film, deliberate and bullish, blown up to prehistoric size and pretty much headed for extinction at the hands of French bureaucracy.
Depardieu's lugubrious features have rarely been better suited to playing a character who is such a handful that he is duty-bound to shock.
Intermittently very funny.
Retirement can be a death sentence but in the eccentric, meandering French road movie Mammuth it becomes a second chance to reconnect with life.
Gerard Depardieu embarks on a road trip through France in a comedydrama that begins well before taking an unwelcome surreal detour. A pity, because the first half hour is very, very funny.
It is often quite offbeat, anarchic stuff about how time and age tend to betray us.
After ten years of faithful service to a slaughterhouse, Serge(Gerard Depardieu) is given a party and a jigsaw puzzle by his co-workers. Retirement does not end up agreeing with him or his wife Catherine(Yolande Moreau) who ends up hating him loafing around the house and her demotion to the fish counter. Salvation for the former comes from a surprising direction when it turns out Serge will have to get affidavits for every odd job he has performed in order to get his full pension.
Given the movie's plot, it should come as no surprise that the story is on the episodic side. "Mammuth" takes that to extremes by almost appearing to resemble Serge's 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle at times. Even then, it does not provide all the pieces, including one scene that is 3/4 totally wrong. The picture that we do get involves a man whose life was thrown sideways early in life, as he continues to be haunted by Isabelle Adjani.(Notice how some people have all the luck.) But sadly the movie wants to apply that notion to all minimum wage employees who struggle through life through no fault of their own.
Directors Gustave Kervern and Benoît Delépine in this movie combined intense Frenchness with a kind of English comedy-sensibility the best possible way and they got weird movie which is fummy and sad! Gérard Depardieu was a real star even in very unusual scenes which Kervern and Delépine sometimes unexpectedly spring on the viewer, just to keep us all off balance (one of those scenes shows Depardieu engaging in the kind of activity with his cousin which is almost always reserved for teenagers in the movies)...
A fat, resentful and slow-witted man called Serge, riding a motorbike "Mammuth" is uncompromisingly unsympathetic. His wife is working in a supermarket (played by Yolande Moreau) and she, too, is massively unsympathetic. And two of them in a story when Serge retires from his job in a meat-packing plant - does not promise a lot... it'll be your mistake to assume that!
Serge must now tour around the country on his old motorbike, collecting the lost payslips and documents that prove his employment history and this is a chance for us to travel with him into his dodgy dark past haunted by the ghost of an old girlfriend, played by the beautiful Isabelle Adjani.
Enjoy this unexpected journey in full! I really did!
Having two rather unsympathetic characters as your leads isn't a problem for me, especially when they are played by Gerard Depardieu and the fearless Yolande Moreau at the top of their game. What I did find troubling with Mammuth however is that it is (ironically) so slight, it barely exists. The promising, pretty funny start sets up what could have been a decent, off-beat road movie, with Serge tasked to seek out his many past employers in order to get enough pay-slips or affidavits in order to draw his pension. Though this does indeed remain the 'hanger' for the film, we are mostly given over to indulging in "kooky" scenes that have absolutely no weight, little point, and quickly start to grate - such as the continual concentrations on Serge's "free-spirited" (psychotic) niece Miss Ming. Running through is a thread that remains disappointingly under-explored about Serge's past and his guilt over the death of a beautiful young woman. There are some scenes that work (a bizarre, funny sequence where Serge is re-united with his now elderly cousin and they try and wank each other off as they once did when they were kids, abandoning their attempts when cramp sets in) and others that simply do not. The final scene is disarmingly sweet and moving and ends the film on a high, and though there is good work from the leads and occasionally some interesting things to say about the human condition, too much of the short running time is annoying or forgettable and overall Mammuth disappoints.
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