Aug 30, 2012

Review: Mammuth - 2010




Mammuth
Director: Gustave de Kervern, Benoît Delépine
Drama/Comedy
2010

Serge Pilardose is retiring from his job but it doesn’t turn out the way he planned to. He feels lost in the world and gets nothing done when he can’t go to work anymore. And even worse, his retirement benefits are not full since his misses some papers from his old jobs. He’s never been sick; he has always worked (since the age of sixteen) and he’s not very good at common chores (like shopping for groceries or fixing things around the house. What can he do? His wife tells him to get the missing papers so he gets on his motorcycle and goes to his old working places to get the necessary papers. On this trip some old memories that should have stayed buried in the past surfaces – bloody memories…

This film tells two main stories, one is very cynical and the other is more sad and heartbreaking. The first, and obvious, story is of course about the retirement. Serge is forced into a world he knows nothing about. Even making a phone call on a cell phone is a big deal. It's not easy to be forced into retirement. He can’t shop for groceries and he is a true Mammuth, an old creature not understanding the world of today. This might be part of the meaning of the title but there’s more later on. In the opening scenes there are loads of brilliant irony and cynicism deluxe. His co-workers give him a puzzle game after worked with him for ten years and every surrounding is brilliantly told. Serge keeps it together though, at least so far. He accepts and tries his best but it doesn’t turn out very good.

The cynicism continues when he doesn’t have the correct paperwork to get the right amount of pension. It's not easy to be used and expired and then thrown away like garbage, which seems to be the films bottom line. Nobody should be treated that way, still that’s the way it is. This social comment has been made many times before, even in very commercial action movies such as First BloodThe Park is Mine also comes to mind, but in both cases it’s a question of war veterans’, not retired butchers. There’s really no difference; the senior citizens of society helped build it and we should be grateful to them – period!

The other story tells the background to why Serge has spend so much time working during his entire life, what he wants to forget or even needs to forget it he’s not going to go under. I felt that it was a little too much of this and I found the obvious story about the gathering testimonials from his former employers or co-workers more entertaining. There’s no need for an in depth analysis of why certain things are like they are. They simply exist as far as I’m concerned.

But all that are minor problems and it doesn’t take away the fact that this, in fact, is a very good movie, an entertaining one with a perfect Gerard Depardieu in the leading role. He’s absolutely awesome and I don’t believe it could be made by anyone else in the same excellent manner.