Blueberry

"Excellent"

Blueberry Review


Moebius, aka Jean Giraud, is best known as the artist who revolutionized Continental comic books in the 1960s and 1970s. His work, highly stylized and fittingly surreal, is synonymous with science fiction illustration and the premier adult fantasy comic magazine, Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal, in the states.) While he began his work as an illustrator for various French magazines and fanzines, it wasn't until the 1970s, when he adopted the pen name Moebius, that his work became internationally recognized. Despite his frequent forays into science fiction and fantasy, his western strip Blueberry (with Jean-Michel Charlier) is perhaps his best-known work. While Mike Blueberry, the cowboy hero of the eponymous strip, has traveled the dusty back roads for over 30 years there has not been a film adaptation of his adventures until now.

Jan Kounen, the Dutch cause celebre responsible for the hyperactive cult film Dobermann, tackles the epic story of Blueberry with a careful, almost blissed out style - much to the dismay of fans of his earlier work. Blueberry is a meditative work, a somnambulist's ramble through western history and psychedelica. The film is slowly paced but crescendos in a special effects blowout, a literal celluloid peyote trip, which would make Alejandro Jodorowsky jump with joy. (That isn't a random aside, Blueberry is as close an homage to Jodorowsky's El Topo as a big budget western can get.)

Mike Blueberry (Vincent Cassel) is a weary lawman raised by Native Americans trying to keep the peace in the wild west of the 1870s. The town he oversees is populated by a motley bunch of scoundrels and caricatures: Rolling Bear (wheelchair bound Ernest Borgnine) and his son Billy the Idiot (Jan Kounen), McClure (a horribly coifed Colm Meaney), Mariah (Juliette Lewis) a regular Calamity Jane (Mariah's father, Sullivan, is played by Juliette Lewis' father Geoffrey Lewis), Prosis (Eddie Izzard) a geologist/con-man, Woodhead (Djimon Hounsou) Prosis' scalped African partner and Blount (Michael Madsen) a cold-hearted killer with a long and sordid history with our hero. Throw in a mysterious manuscript, a treasure, lots of mescaline, a Lovecraftian demon, flying lizards, and numerous journeys into the "spirit world," and Blueberry quickly moves from western to weird.

Upon its theatrical release last year, Blueberry was both lambasted by critics and jeered by audiences - the acting, the cinematography, the plot, the special effects, all ridiculed. And yet the film, viewed outside the world of Moebius' comics, is actually an arresting piece of cinema. Kounen is a provocateur; he enjoys pushing the envelope and pushing audiences. While Blueberry lacks the fireworks and fancy footwork of Dobermann, it is just as jarring and experimental a film. Kounen remakes the western; he sets up and then deconstructs the traditional western tropes of revenge and honor, expansion and settlement. Like Antonia Bird's brilliant Ravenous, Blueberry a western film that really isn't about the west at all - it's about ideas and images, indecipherable and unrefined. During the filming of Blueberry, Kounen had a transformation of sorts; he discovered shamanism and the Shipibo-Conibos culture of Peru. And this oozes into the film, pulsing at its core. Like Jodorowsky and Herzog before him, Kounen has discovered himself in the film he has made.

Blueberry is a film most people will absolutely detest. It's "bad art," they'll say. That's fine, for the rest of us there's always a haven in the appreciation of "bad art."

Aka Renegade.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 13 mins

Budget: $53M

Production compaines: A.J.O.Z. Films, La petite Reine, TF1 Films Production, 120 Films, Crystalcreek Ltd., Ultra Films, TPS Star

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Mike Blueberry, as Maria Sullivan, as Runi, as Rolling Star, as Woodhead, as Young Mike Blueberry, as Wallace Sebastian Blount, as Greg Sullivan, as Lola, as Madeleine, as Uncle, as Prosit, as Jimmy McClure, as Toothless Man, as Kateri, Kestenbetsa as Kheetseen, as Billy, François Levantal as Pete the Barman, William Lightning as Young Runi, Antonio Monroy as Julio

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.