Erratum 2037 (2020)

“There’s one more thing I didn’t understand…”

This is wild, funny and very witty film, full of surprises and clever ideas.

It is just hard to believe that it was made by three teen-aged brothers, that’s all.

Now, let’s get this straight right now:  if you think every movie made needs to be Hollywood  perfect, then stop reading this review right now.  This isn’t the film for you.

And if you are quick to complain that the time travel in the latest work of science fiction isn’t scientifically accurate (according to whichever of several versions of “real” time travel you hold to be true), then you won’t enjoy this one at all, whether you reach Eighty-Eight miles an hour or not.

But if you are going to the movies to have fun, like we used to back in the days when Spielberg was the new kid on the block and John Delorean’s brainchild could still carry you back to the future, then you will need to see this one.

Even if it is in French.  And subtitled.

The Benoit Brothers — or The Ben Brothers, as they bill themselves — Johan, Elie and Emilien Benoit — started out the way a lot of filmmakers do these days: making movies.

Then one day  they decided that they actually wanted to finish one of their films

This led them to try their hands at a short film — and somehow their time travel short turned into a dazzling feature length film.

This was back in 2012, right after they watched Back to the Future, and it is hard to miss its influence.  If you were in any danger of missing it, Phil Garbutt’s excellent — and yes, often witty — score echoes one of the main themes of Robert Zemeckis’ film at an important moment.

Leo Trucher (Elie Benoit) is introverted and unmotivated, the sort of student who never takes much interest in school (or much of anything else).  He is lucky that he actually has one friend — well, mostly lucky, as it is the budding hacker Antoine Glyphon, aka Anaglyph (Timothe Beugnet).  One day, they find a cutting edge game machine that fell out of a passing van, but it knocks out Leo’s computer when Anaglyph plugs it in.

However. in the middle of the night it receives a message from the future, and mysterious masked men show up minutes later and kidnap Leo.

Before he can figure out what’s going on, he’s in the future, on the run from the evil scientific genius, Emeric Boldenberg (Emilien Benoit), in the company of two bumbling secret agents trying to stop Boldenberg’s sinister plan before it can ever start.

It’s hard to know where to start with a film that is such pure, unadulterated fun.  The cast is mostly family and friends, the people who reminded them of the characters they’d just written.  While you can tell that this was shot with a home grade camera — and not some Hollywood model with a lens that cost more than your car — it is used so well and the editing is so deftly handled that you really don’t notice.

I particularly love the effects, which have a loving, clunky, handmade quality to them, with little bits of stop motion for various science fictional gadgets and a wild and funny flying car sequence.

This may be my favorite moment in the film as their vehicles have this retro-futuristic style to them that reminds me of The Fifth Element.  There are a lot of nice details here, like one car which resembles a classic hot rod, complete with a blower sticking out of its hood.

Although my favorite moment in the entire film comes during this sequence when Leo looks down at the hood of a passing police car (which looks a lot like a jet-propelled Plymouth Superbird) and sees his face projected on it in a wanted poster!

Although, I will concede it is a close second when Leo reprises a classic scene from a familiar Hitchcock movie.

I was also quite impressed by a scene where a small security robot (a tricked out toy truck) chases Leo through a building and even does a few stunts along the way.

Which leads to one of the funniest death scenes ever.

I do have to wonder, though, how Johan talked anyone into wearing his homemade firecracker blood squibs.  You can even see the burning fuse before they go off in the “making of” video!

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the whole project is the choice of Leo as protagonist: far from your typical Eighties teen movie hero who rises above the occasion and saves the day, like Marty McFly or Billy Peltzer, Leo is dragged through the story in a constant state of apathetic confusion, saying again and again, every time someone tries to explain what’s going on to him, “There’s one more thing I didn’t understand.”

Just beautiful!

Bolderberg, who remains invisible for most of the film is my favorite character, however, because every time his sinister plans have been foiled, his epic genius allows him to triumph in some new field of endeavor: finance, cloning, or whatever else the plot happened to need at that moment!

The Benoit Brothers are hard at work making short films and a multi-part online series, Douce France, for their Youtube channel.  Right now their plans for releasing Erratum 2037 are on hold thanks to the ongoing quarantine, but keep your eyes open!  It is definitely worth making an effort to see, even if it means taking a trip or two into the future to do it.

Meanwhile, check out the other films they have posted: a few of them already have English subtitles, and they are now adding more.

After all, it never occurred to them that people from another continent might be interested in what they did.

…Well, maybe Boldenberg thought of it.  After all, he is an evil genius



And check out our new Feature (Updated April 21, 2020):

The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!

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