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Narco - The Secret Adventures of Gustave Klopp


Starring: Guillaume Canet, Benoit Poelvoorde, Francois Berleand, Zabou Breitman
Director: Alain Attal
Rating: M18 (Some Sexual Scenes)

Year Made: 2005








Languages: French
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Letterbox
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 50 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Comstar Entertainment




Gustave Klopp is a sleepyhead. He has narcolepsy and nods off at times of stress and emotion. To his wife Pam - the get-ahead manicurist and best buddy Lenny the Van Damme-wannabe, be's a good-natured dope. To his shrink Samuel Pupkin and retro stand-up Guy Bennet, he's a potential goldmine. For Gus has a hidden talent and an alter ego whose adventures he relates in sensational comic-books. When Gus saws logs, in his dreams, he becomes Gustave Klopp, superhero...


Narcolepsy is an interesting condition. In times of extreme stress or emotion, the body shuts down and you fall asleep. Which naturally means the condition will wreck major havoc in the sufferer's social life, especially when dozing off at times when you're experiencing profound pleasure.

The story chronicles the life of Gustuv Klopp, a narcoleptic, played out in two separate halves. The first showcased the zany aspects of Gustuv's condition, how he cannot hold on to even the simplest of jobs, which leaves him unemployed and badly in need of the dough. His form of escape from his real world woes lies in his fantasy dreams when he dozes off, transporting him off to different dimensions in which he will inevitably be the hero who saves the day.

But as the saying goes, the Heavens do smile upon the village idiot, and it is no surprise that despite his handicap, he still managed to snag the "school flower" for his wife, although this would serve as a sore point later. To sustain his family, he chanced upon an idea to exploit his condition by tapping into the creative dreams and stories he subconsciously conjures, and translate them onto paper in the form of graphic novels, given his artistic talent.

The second half of the movie tangents off into seriousness with a look at darker themes like betrayal, and the greed of man. Gone is the fluff from the beginning, and in place it explores possession, of weaknesses which bears dire consequences, of basically gaining credit, wealth and fame for something that you did not rightfully earn. It also shows a different side of Gustav, one of confusion, of being stunned by revelations of the truth, and the cluelessness of not having a crutch to cushion the impact. You might think that actor Guillaume Canet had it easy playing someone who falls asleep most of the time, but the second half of the movie will change that thought as he translates the pain and bewilderment from a totally new experience.

Intertwined in the story is an able group of supporting cast playing numerous caricatures like an ex-comedian turned successful publisher, an unscrupulous psychiatrist who harbours thoughts of becoming a comic artist, Gustuv's best friend who's a karateka wannabe (someone my favourite character in the movie), a pair of ice-skating assassins, and Jean Claude Van Damme. Ok, so I jest at the appearance of Van Damme, but it is precisely this array of colourful characters which light up the screen with their antics.

The Secret Adventures of Gustave Klopp builds a conventional story around an uncommon medical condition, and the end result is a pretty entertaining movie about familiar dark themes in a movie which started off pretty brightly.


No qualms about the excellent visual transfer here, and the audio option presented is selectable between French Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1, which might seem like an overkill if not for the war and space battle sequences.



No extras included, not even a complimentary theatrical trailer.



Review by Stefan Shih



Alternative Opinion:

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This review is made possible with the kind support from Comstar


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