Terrible trailer, great film: Le Concert goes against the flow – so when else has a trailer undersold a film?

Observe the trailer above: it tells you pretty much from the outset that this is a comedy – it’s going to be one of those dash-everywhere-oh-my-god-can-they-do-it, rather like the last 10 minutes of Notting Hill (hope that doesn’t ruin it for you).

If you look an early version of the poster (here at Coming Soon) then you get the message straight away: Comic Sans font! Hey, it’s a laugh!

If you went by the trailer, or the Comic Sans font and the rib-nudging tagline, you’d think that The Concert is just a bit of comic nothing – an easy way to pass 90 minutes or so.

No. Completely not. It’s a terrific film which packs a huge emotional punch in a closing section which has no dialogue at all but explains all the loose ends in the story. (There’s a question about whether some of what you see in that section is a flash-forward or just an ambition – I think it’s a flash-forward which, for reasons of keeping the ending tidy, had to be put before the climax).

Don’t just believe me – IMDB, the movies database, is a reliable guide to what people think of a film. And people there give it 7.5/10 (I’d give it higher, personally).

It’s one of the rare examples I’ve seen where the trailer gives you no idea of the emotional power of a film; it makes it look like a silly comedy, but it makes many more points – some of them in comic fashion, sure, but the heart is serious.

It’s unusual, isn’t it, for a trailer to undersell a film? Before seeing The Concert, I saw the trailer for Knight and Day, the Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz effort – trailer here (no embedding allowed, it seems). But people on IMDB give it 6.6. Every time I’ve seen the trailer, I’ve thought “I’d like to see that film. Looks fun. Cruise not taking himself too seriously.” Apparently not, going by the people who’ve seen it.

So do you know other trailers that have undersold the film? Do tell. Obviously, reference to IMDB to prove that it’s a great film may be needed…


  1. Moon, it was much better than I thought. Although it has a very “Dark Star” ending.

  2. Personally, I thought the Knight and Day trailer was completely representative of the film. It doesn’t end as well as it starts, but it’s a fun way to pass 2 hours.

  3. To be fair, since I don’t watch that many movies in theaters these days I don’t see that many trailers. But I always thought that the 1980s Blake Edwards/Dudley Moore movie “10” was undersold in its trailer – I knew a lot of people who didn’t see it or realize they’d enjoy it because the trailer showed so much Bo Derek running on the beach in her bathing suit that they didn’t realize how funny or smart it was.

    I never saw the trailer for Gattaca, but I always thought that movie was terribly badly marketed.

    The late NY Times drama critic Walter Kerr wrote in one of his books (probably Thirty Plays Hath November) that there were some plays that were a terrible problem for reviewers because although they were wonderful and illuminating of the human condition etc., etc., you could not describe what they were about in the review in any way that didn’t make them sound like something to flee.


  4. This was a very interesting post. I guess the problem with it for me is that if I see a poor trailer I am extremely unlikely to watch a film even if I read good reviews subsequently, and so I fail to get that pleasant contentment you obviously felt, Charles. I have seen hundreds of foreign films and usually they are more surprisingly good than not. This looks like one. I will definitely get it when it comes out on DVD for a good price on Amazon. As an almost non-sequiteur, the recent Dinner for Schmucks was a dreadful trailer and equally dreadful movie IMHO though the rating at IMDB was passable at 6.3. The original French film Diner Des Cons was by contrast extremely good and to be honest, it’s remake by Hollywood was shameful.

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