NARCO - The Secret Adventures of Gustave Klopp

In French with English Subtitles
Genre: Comedy
Director: Alain Attal
Starring: Guillaume Canet (Love Me Of You Dare), Benoit Poelvoorde, Francois Berleand, Zabou Breitman
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: M18 (Some Sexual Scenes)

Release Date: 6 April 2006

Synopsis :

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...

Movie Review:

Back in 1999, in the movie, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, one of the clients that Deuce Bigalow (Rob Schneider) was serving, often fell asleep at inappropriate times and places, mostly occurring without any warnings. That female client was diagnosed with Narcolepsy: a neurological condition that can be easily diagnosed but medical treatments for the underlying cause is rarely possible.

Now imagine a movie that focuses solely on one such person who has narcolepsy and you have "Narco: The Secret Adventures of Gustuv Klopp". A movie that is about the daily narcolepsy episodes that Gus (Guillaume Canet) has to go through and how it affects the people around him.

Interestingly, the "blackout" moments that Gus experiences are very often what we, the movie viewers, day dream about, being the leader of an all out military war in the desert, dodging laser beams in a intergalactic space dogfights and even a ballistic shootout with the authorities. During the dream sessions that Gus goes through in his narcolepsy episodes, he is invincible and in short, having the time of his life.

However in reality, all is not that swell. A quick run through in his life reveals pretty much how his disability disconnects him from the real world. His disability renders him with much difficulty in finding and particularly holding on to a job.

His private life is equally bad as he keeps blacking out during all those emotional and intimate moments. Money is running low and a wife that is not emotionally fulfilled, Gus' household is in dire straits.

And out of the blue, one of Gus' dreams inspires him to explore a talent that he has had all along since young: the ability to draw. Combing his skills and the imaginative dreams that he has, he is able to weave it into spectacular comic books. It is the answer to all the problems that Gus and his family are having.

However his wife doesn't share the foresight of his gift and instead, in a bid to cure him, sends him to a psychology help group. The psychiatrist-in-charge who happens to be a rejected artist however recognizes Gus’ talent and chooses to exploit it in the most unexpected manner. And thus Gus' real life adventures begin. As farfetched as his dreams are, his real life encounters becomes just as unusual as his dreams.

Guillaume Canet who was last seen in Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) and Jeux d'enfants (Love Me If You Dare) delivered a creditable performance here. In one moment, he is the clean-shave hero saving the world and in the next, he is a sloppy slacker that is in desperate need of a good slap to wake him up.
The other highlight of this movie belongs to the very unique individuals surrounding the main protagonist. His dad is a loafer whose wife left him, as she couldn't stand him doing nothing the whole day. His best friend, Lanny (Benoit Poelvoorde) is a Jean Claude Van Damme fanatic who lives with the delusion that he will be the next action star. His wife, Paméla (Zabou Breitman) is a nail expert who could tell so much about one person just by looking at the way their nails are painted.

Beside those that are close to Gus, this movie is also littered with other distinctive hilarious characters that light up this movie. Characters beside the envious psychiatrist, a successful publisher, who is also a failed stand-up comedian, and a pair of figure skating assassins blur the line of reality and make one wonder if Gus is dreaming it up all again.

And another highlight of the movie would be the appearance of “The Muscles from Brussels" Jean Claude Van Damme as himself, providing "inspirational" teachings in the most unexpected manner that will crack up even the straightest face.

Perhaps the only fault of the movie was its anti-climatic ending. Given that it has a more realistic feel to it but as there are far too much momentum building for the main character, the ending felt as though it came to a stop a tad too soon. But other than that, Narco is in its essence a suffering from Narcolepsy, often containing many little pieces of joy combined with over-the-top movie sequences, the dark human nature and comedic episodes, making one wonder if reality can be as castle building as it is.

Movie Rating:

(Part zany comedy, part serious drama and definitely an intriguing combination)

Review by Richard Lim Jr

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