Au contraire, despite the dark theme of exploring how human life is disposed of one at a time, the movie Le Magasin des Suicide (Suicide Shop) is not without some charms. The character of Alain (voiced by Kacey Mottet Klein), the son of Mishima (Bernard Alane) and Matilyn Tuvache (Isabelle Giami), is what makes this film. He came bursting into a world full of despair, and he has a much healthier outlook on life than anyone else in his family, or society for that matter.
The art direction by Florian Thouret and Régis Vidal is visually pleasing. The use of colours is dynamic and it elicits an emotional response to what life is like in an unnamed metropolis. Life is rather dull and tragic; more people want to die and as far as the police are concerned, to commit suicide on the city streets is an offense. If they have to, they will soon discover the Suicide Shop. Here, they can find a huge variety of items to quickly end their life.
The business has been in operation since 1854. Mishima Tuvache will no doubt pass the store on to his heirs Vincent (Laurent Gendron) and Matilyn (Isabelle Giami). He raised these two to behave as glum as he, but when another generation (Alain) is born, a problem is going to arise.
Alain is a rebellious young punk. He does not agree with his family’s gloomy ideals and his youthful exuberance is very evident in Klein’s performance. That’s heard and understood more than what the subtitles can offer. But there is a nuance lost in the translation. The meaning behind the lyrics feels forced. More time is spent to make them rhyme than to explain where the story is going. The instrumental numbers are worthy of Danny Elfman and the sung pieces reminiscent of the ballads in Sweeny Todd.
While this movie will certainly make its mark for adult viewers and social analysts to digest, this film is certainly not family friendly. It tries to be, but when considering all the grisly deaths going on, young ones may well need a good dose of Tim Burton’s Nightmare before Christmas to end the night with instead.
Victoria Film Festival 2013