When life leaves me a bit broken (heart, soul, spirit, some other abstract), I crawl back into my drey, squirrel away my hurts (like nuts of wisdom) and binge on films. It’s a coping strategy. Something that helps me escape the neurosis of my reality and live somewhere else for a wee while. Cinema provides a platform for me to realign my thought patterns, to philosophise my petty sufferings. And it’s always made more special if I discover a new gem. A film that seems to tune into bitter-sweet comedy, hopeful cynicism and ultimate tragedy. The film reel ends, I detect the death sigh of celluloid, reality resumes. Poop!
So. New gem. The Big Blue (1988, Luc Besson).
I only even heard of this a few weeks ago reading about it on Static Mass Emporium (a cinema blogsite I heartily recommend). I fairly recently graduated from a Luc Besson admirer (I like Leon & The Fifth Element), to a Luc Besson fawning acolyte (Nikita? Straight into my favourites list). So I decided to hunt this one down.
This will be a film I will watch again and again. For the first three quarters it is funny, charming and enigmatic, a bit like the dolphins. It always has an undercurrent of bluesey melancholy, but the comedic romps (particularly of Jean Reno’s character Enzo) left me beaming like an eejit. The ending, while philosophically lovely lovely lovely, is like a rabbit punch to the vagina (if you’ll excuse my phrasing).
Mr Besson is a true skillsman when it comes to messing around with genres. He collects cute cliches and then blows them off his hand like dandelion fairies. Skipping effortlessly from B&W arthouse-coming-of-age prologue, to ditzy rom-com with 80’s soft focus sex, to compelling adventure-thrills and bro-mance (the artist formly known as ‘buddy movie’), all laced with a stunning, surreal, complex and ultimately tragic heart.
But as Static Mass itself states, it’s the sort of tragedy we fall foolishly in love with like a hapless teenage girl. Jean Marc-Barr’s character Jacquez in all his shiney gorgeous inhuman perfection (I challenge even hetero-fellas not to swoon), seems to belong to another world, to a bottomless ocean, to a place where realities like oxygen and heartbreak cease their trivial existence.
I think I just gushed. Oops. Back to reality. Back to trying to impress my moggie with my incredible clicky-quacky dolphin impressions. She looks… worried.
Big Blue Love.
Over & owt.