Directed by Serge Bozon | France/Belgium/Luxembourg | 106 mins.
You may well find the opening moments of Serge Bozon’s Tip Top immediately destabilizing. Indeed, many viewers will doubtlessly find the metaphor of the sledgehammer appropriate. Some viewers and critics still don’t know what to make of the cinema of Serge Bozon. Say what you will: Bozon, himself a onetime film critic of some notoriety, would seem to have a personal system all his own, no less so than, say, a Yasujirō Ozu. Tip Top is scrupulously controlled anarchy abiding by a completely individual set of rules. Two eccentric female detectives from the Internal Affairs department are brought in to make sense of the circumstances surrounding an underworld killing in Villeneuve, a suburb in the northern French city of Lille with a large Algerian immigrant population. Topical commentary and outrageous slapstick hilarity ensue, all of it played with something like a straight face. Tip Top provides the ideal context to see Huppert flex her muscles as a comedienne. She gives a fantastically busy performance that nonetheless has something of the impression of an offhand shrug of the shoulders. You may not know what to make of it, but there will be laughter.
- Written by Jason Wierzba