Re:View – ‘Nothing To Declare’

The Arts

On the French-Belgium border the traffic’s building up, because Ruben (Benoit Belvoorde) is a rabid patriot determined to catch the ‘cheese-eating frogs’ who infringe the law, and is taking his role as customs officer way too seriously. His bosses know he goes to far, but it’s 1993 and the borders are about to come down forever.

So, in the final week, a joint Franco-Belge mobile unit is set up, and hapless Mathius (Dany Boon) volunteers to share the vehicle with the gun-toting Belgian madman in order to catch a gang of smugglers. He has an ulterior motive; for the past year he’s been secretly dating Ruben’s sister. And unbeknown to any of them, the local cafe where they all eat (and fight) is the HQ of the drug ring…

Boon is his usual self-effacing charmer, Belvoorde cleverly softens without losing his anger, and there’s a lovely car chase in a police vehicle that’s falling to bits. Boon seems to effortlessly create these smart, warm comedies that gently poke fun while making valid points without preaching. ‘Welcome To The Sticks’ did the same thing, and both hits, God help us, are up for Hollywood remakes. It would be better for all concerned if US audiences got used to subtitles, as the rest of the world does.

5 comments on “Re:View – ‘Nothing To Declare’”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Subtitles being preferable to dubbing, yeah? (Oops, I just watched the slang thing again.)

  2. Stephen Beat says:

    I loved Dany’s character in ‘Micmacs’ – in fact I loved all the characters in that film. One of the reasons I joined ‘LoveFilm’ despite having Sky Movies is so I a get my hands on French films.

    But sadly, while I think there is a silent cotingent of us who do get subtitled films I am very doubtful if that following can translate from DVD/Blueray enthsiams into cinema going.

    Many people just seem to see subitled fims as too much hard work!

    The occassional foreign film might make it ino the English speaking mainstream – comedy seems to do better than other genres – but rather like the way that only tepid British rom-coms and costume drama can break the important US market, so I think subited hits will be few and far between rather than the norm.

    But there again – am I alone in that I kinda like being ‘special’ in likeing foreign films? 😉

  3. I.A.M. says:

    My local library has “Micmacs à tire-larigot”, “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis”, and “Joyeux Noël”. Gracious! Such selection!

  4. I.A.M. says:

    …and speaking of subtitles, here’s something I just discovered: personal subtitles!

    Finally an actually useful purpose for those ridiculous glasses in cinemas!

  5. Helen Martin says:

    @I.A.M. That makes so much sense it’ll never happen. No one ever bothers about things that people really do want, you know.

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