99 FRANCS dvd review

Canada NTSC Region 1 dvd

Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1

French: Dolby Digital 5.1, DD 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles: English








For anyone that wants to see if Jean Dujardin is the real deal after winning the Best Actor award for The Artist, check out Jan Kounen’s 99 Francs – one of the best French films from 2007. Based on the cult-classic French book by Frederic Beigbeder, 99 Francs is the perfect film to be double-featured with David Fincher’s Fight Club. The coincidences between the two movies are absolutely eerie. Both novels by Beigbeder and Chuck Palahniuk are cult classics that criticize society’s obsession with consumerism and advertising. Jan Kounen is the French version of David Fincher – their creative style of filmmaking is basically the same. And both films star leading men – Pitt, Norton, and Dujardin – who create extraordinary performances that most leading men actors could not pull off so well.

99 Francs is about Octave (Jean Dujardin), an obnoxious advertising executive who works for a famous advertising company. Octave is so successful at his job that he’s the type of person that could create advertisements for plain pieces of paper and make millions. He is rich, successful, loves cocaine, and loves his job. But once he finds out that his girlfriend Sophie (Vahina Giocante) is pregnant, his lifestyle and perception of the world around him changes. Unable to deal with the reality of pregnancy, his life goes from one extreme to another. His job becomes a joke to him, realizing that advertising just seems totally ridiculous, especially challenged when he’s in charge of creating an advertising campaign for a new yogurt called “Madone” (which is obviously parodying “Danone”). Just like in Fight Club, 99 Francs is a visually creative and intense movie filled with unique special effects and camera tricks that builds up to an unpredictable explosive climax.

I’m very thankful for Canadian DVDs to consistently release French movies with English subtitles when their French DVD counterparts do not have English subs. This Canadian DVD of 99 Francs is currently the only English-subtitled version of 99 Francs out there. I wish I could say that the DVD has awesome quality for such a visually spectacular film, but it’s not so. The video quality does suffer more than the audio. The anamorphic 2.35:1 image is not going to be impressive on big HDTVs. While the rich colors are reproduced perfectly, the image is plagued by a somewhat blurry transfer. While not at as distracting or annoying as an interlaced DVD, the video quality should have been much better, especially for this type of film. The good news is that we are not alone – I thought that non-French speakers were being screwed, but actually, everyone got screwed – I read online that the non-subtitled DVD/Blu-ray versions from France also have poor video quality. With that in mind, the DVD is totally acceptable. Even if Dujardin’s Oscar win improves the chance of an English-subtitled Blu-ray from North America, UK, or Australia, I won’t be surprised if the transfer will be pulled from the French Blu-ray master. Instead of waiting ages for a better hypothetical Blu-ray version of this film, this Canadian DVD is worth the money. 99 Francs is such a good film, you’ll forget about the faults of the video quality as you watch this film.

The French Dolby Digital 5.1 is fortunately better than the video quality. The audio is a perfect mix, mainly focusing on front speakers with absolute clarity and depth. Surround speakers are mainly used for atmosphere. Subwoofer is generously used throughout the film as well. 99 Francs is the type of film that would have benefited from a DTS track, but overall, the DD 5.1 is quite good.

English subtitles are perfectly translated.

Non-French speakers will unfortunately miss out on the two commentaries and documentary because they don’t have English subtitles.

For anyone that is disgusted with advertising nowadays, 99 Francs is the movie that breaks down the absurdity of it all. Fans of Jean Dujardin and Fight Club must check out this movie, but I recommend 99 Francs to everyone!