Some Like It Rare - New Release Review
Director: Fabrice Eboué
Starring: Marina Foïs, Fabrice Eboué, Jean-Francois Cayrey, Virginia Hocq, Lisa Du Couto Texeira
Written by: Fabrice Eboué, Vincent Solignac
Produced by: Julien Deris, David Gauquié, Jean-Luc Ormières
Cinematography by: Thomas Brémond
Original Score by: Guillaume Roussel
Sophie and Vincent’s small butcher shop is on the brink of bankruptcy and their marriage is falling apart. Their lives are turned upside down when Vincent accidentally kills a vegan activist who vandalized their shop.
Part gorefest, part outrageous dark comedy, ‘Some Like It Rare’ manages to hit the perfect sweet spot between humour and horror whilst also attempting to say important things about relationships and consumerism. It’s an absolute delight.
Written and directed by Fabrice Eboué, who also stars as the leading man, ‘Some Like It Rare’ tells the story of married couple Vincent and Sophie who own and run a local butcher shop in a small French town somewhere not too far from Paris (We’re never told exactly where) The couple aren’t exactly living their best lives when we first meet them. Probably married young and just kinda stuck with each other, it’s fairly obvious that there’s not much excitement left in their relationship, especially from Sophie’s perspective. Vincent loves being a butcher and cuts the meat with real care. He even makes a point of massaging the meat before parcelling it up for the customer. Sophie on the other hand doesn’t particularly have a fondness for what she’s doing and only really cares about how much money is in the tills at the end of the day. And lately there hasn’t been much cash in the tills. Their business, much like their love life, has been deteriorating slowly. There’s a striking disconnect between the couple and something huge will have to happen for them to remain together. Things turn from bad to worse for Sophie when the couple (and their entire front of shop) is attacked by a group of masked vegan terrorists armed with tubs of red paint. Vincent manages to demask one of the gang (nicknamed V-Power) but the attacker eventually gets away. This is the last straw for Sophie and she informs Vincent that she wants to separate.
But then something life changing happens.
An already irate Vincent accidentally runs over one of the vegan protestors with his van, killing him in the process. Instead of reporting it they decide to dispose of the corpse by cutting it into pieces and dumping bits of the body randomly around town. During the dissection, a stray piece of human flesh drops on the floor and Vincent’s loveable dog eats it with enthusiasm. This sparks an idea in Vincent’s head. Butcher the body and sell it off as meat to his dwindling customers. It was just supposed to be a quick fix to get rid of the dead vegan but unfortunately the customers start craving more of the “Iranian Pork” as they call it and it leaves the couple with a deadly difficult decision to make; go their separate ways unsure of what’s to come or…keep killing vegans and turning them into tasty ham?
You can probably guess which one they chose.
After some deliberation Sophie (seduced by the Euro signs flashing in front of her eyes) manages to persuade Vincent to become a stalker and murderer of vegans and eventually after much hilarity, Vincent become quite good at it and even begins to enjoy it.
‘Some Like It Rare’ really is a breath of fresh air. Even though it has lots of comedy filtered through it, there’s so much more to this little French film than just laughs. It’s brutal and very gory. There’s lots of blood, racist jokes and a fair amount of disturbing scenes. There’s one scene involving a little overweight young boy that makes Vincent lick his lips inappropriately. The film gets dark quickly and stays there pretty much until the very end. But ultimately this IS a dark comedy and Fabrice Eboué’s writing is exceptional. It’s cringe-worthy at times but super relatable (not the killing parts obviously). Eboué’s facial expressions are genuinely hilarious and he and Marina Foïs, who plays his wife Sophie, have such great chemistry on screen and really bounce off of each other.
Some scenes had me howling with laughter and then I had to reign myself in contemplating my moral compass. Should we really be laughing at innocent vegans being hunted down and subsequently sold to unwitting meat eaters? It feels like we shouldn’t but the way that it’s presented is just fascinatingly funny. Initially Vincent has to be heavily persuaded to make his first kill. He even chickens out during his first murder attempt and starts screaming Islamic phrases to make it seem like a terrorist attack. The pair then decide to attend vegan festivals and pretend to be protesters in order to find the right victims. It’s bizarre but Eboué and Foïs just sell it so perfectly that it really makes it hard not to enjoy everything that unfolds. They eventually become so apathetic about it all which only adds to the comical absurdity. They target specific vegans like it’s a military mission and even wine and dine one victim into thinking he is partaking in some sort of cuckolding event.
The film is littered with hilariously memorable scenes but most of them come in the form of montages amusingly accompanied by music tracks like ‘Macho Man’ by The Village People and ‘Born to be Wild’ by Steppenwolf, which is especially funny because it’s supposed to resemble a nature documentary in which predators are taking out their prey. I could almost hear David Attenborough’s silky commentary in the background.
Hidden underneath the comical exterior, there is something profound that could be taken from ‘Some Like It Rare’. The relationship between Sophie and Vincent is a little toxic at times and Sophie definitely uses her sexuality to manipulate Vincent into performing these hideous crimes. What becomes increasingly evident is that as the couple’s murder tally increases their intimate relationship actually improves too. They are happy again and are more confident. This is very obvious in how they eventually stand up to their rich, obnoxious and openly racist friends who own a chain of large meat stores. At this point I was cheering them on. The tension is built up adequately throughout with the help of a familiar local policeman who bounces in and out from time to time and an occasional visit from their vegan daughter. The end is a little anticlimactic, which is a shame because it felt like we were building up to a huge finale of sorts. Although we are treated to an awesome scene where Vincent must rescue Sophie from the clutches of the remaining members of V-Power, which offers up more brutality.
‘Some Like It Rare’ might be a bit much for some people. Some might not fully embrace the controversial humour. If you’re a fan of Ben Wheatley’s fantastic 2012 comedy ‘Sightseers’ then you’ll probably dig this one too.
- Gavin Logan
'Some Like It Rare' debuts at Glasgow Fright Fest March 12th and will be released in the UK by Signature Entertainment on March 21st