From the very first moments, helmer Ian Lagarde establish a malevolent world in All You Can Eat Buddha. He makes us feel it through one of its first scenes.
Here, Lagarde shows us the gaze of a man with a mustache named Valentino (Silvio Arriola). He welcomes his guests to the Hotel Palacio, greeting us in French. As someone who’s made his time in the service industry we dip down the uncanny valley as he does.
From here on out we witness a lot of staring. One of the people doing the staring is none other than our protagonist Mike (Ludovic Berthillot). He’s in a resort that has tacky entertainment, yes. But it’s strange that he’s having none of it and chooses to be an outsider.
But suddenly people start staring at him, mostly because he increases his meals from one plate to six. He also starts performing miracles. This is when the film kicks off.
The unsettling tone of the film complements its subject matter. Most movies portray magic as this benevolent thing. This one, however, prefers to take the harder route.
It points out how out of place magic is in any world. And we can definitely say this in the fictional one that Lagarde brings us.
It also brings to mind how slimy people get when they worship people they deem special as the characters here to do Mike. The pieces don’t always fit in this film, but it’s a good jumping point for Lagarde nonetheless.