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Review: A comic turnabout on the police procedural, ‘Keep an Eye Out’ is wacky fun

Grégoire Ludig, left, and Benoît Poelvoorde in the movie "Keep an Eye Out."
(Dekanalog)

The Times is committed to reviewing theatrical film releases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because moviegoing carries risks during this time, we remind readers to follow health and safety guidelines as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials.

That staple of French film and television — the policier — is impishly turned on its procedural ear courtesy of “Keep an Eye Out” (“Au Poste!”), an earlier comic offering by absurdist French writer-director Quentin Dupieux (“Mandibles,” “Deerskin”).

With an opening sequence featuring an alfresco orchestra conducted by a middle-aged man clad only in a tomato-red bikini brief prior to his being pursued by the cops, it becomes immediately apparent that the long arm of Monty Python will be shoving aside the usual suspects.

Cut to a nondescript police precinct where the preoccupied Captain Buron (Benoît Poelvoorde) is interrogating anxious, hungry Fugain (Grégoire Ludig), who had reported the murder of a man he found lying in a pool of blood in front of his apartment building.

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Although the methodical if distracted Buron has reason to believe Fugain to be more than just a mere witness, at one point he has to step out, leaving his only suspect literally under the watchful eye of his one-eyed fresh recruit (Marc Fraize), which leads to outrageous repercussions.

Even as he proceeds to completely obliterate the fourth wall, Dupieux, also an electronic musician and DJ who performs under the moniker Mr. Oizo, does so at a deliberately unhurried pace, feeling no need to rush things despite the inherent limits of the film’s slender 73-minute running time.

The delightfully daft, dialogue-driven result makes for a languid farce that mischievously flips a funhouse mirror on jaded audiences to welcome, if fleeting, effect.

‘Keep an Eye Out’

In French with English subtitles

Not rated

Running Time: 1 hour, 13 minutes

Playing: Starts March 5, Laemmle Virtual Cinema; and in limited release where theaters are open

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