99F (The Film)

99F, a movie based on Frédéric Beigbeder’s bestselling book has finally arrived to Austria. The movie is excellent for those who haven’t read 99F, are curious, but cannot bother reading it.

99F became a bestseller as it came out in 2000 because it spoke openly about the Sodom and Gomorra of the advertising world - the drugs, the prostitutes, the travels, freakiness. Let’s not forget - end of 1990s were the golden times of advertising. And this is the movie’s problem - the topic is outdated  (now we need a movie about freaking Wall Street wizards). Advertising world has changed greatly since then – yes, it became boring. The companies are not uncontrollably shovelling money into advertising as they used to, everyone wants to just play safe, the agencies are holding creatives on a shorter leash and drugs are consumed in much smaller doses.

But exactly the timing - the fact that we are currently standing in the middle of a painful awakening - gives the movie a huge plus. Because in his book, Frédéric used the frentic world of advertising to criticize our imbecile, irresponsible, consumerist state of mind. This is exactly the state of mind which brought us to the current crash of the economy and also of the whole socio-political system.

The movie is definitely fun to watch - it is like being dipped into a big, colourful, juicy comic. A great game with reality on one side, a bit too chaotic on the other. The trick of dividing the story into “I”, “You”, “He” chapters, which was unnecessary in the book, is only confusing in the movie. The book suffers an overdose of advertising tricks, and so does the movie but here, this overdose serves its purpose. I missed a few of the best scenes from the book. I also missed the direct criticism and some great thoughts from the book. But hey - can’t have it all!

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