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Archive for March 10th, 2010

Review: Micmacs

If you take equal parts Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton double the quirkiness add a little of Guillermo del Toro’s vision and give him a French accent you would have Jean-Pierre Jeunet the director responsible for films as diverse and bizarre as Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, Alien: Resurrection, Amélie, A Very Long Engagement and now Micmacs.  Returning to something closer to Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children than his more recent movies Micmacs is wonderful example of Jeunet’s unique vision.

Two terrible things have happened to Bazil (Dany Boon) in his life: his farther was killed by a landmine when he was a child; then thirty years later he is witness to a shooting and ends up with a bullet lodged in his brain following a freak occurrence.  It is decided it is best to leave the bullet in place that could kill him at any time rather than remove it and risk making him brain-dead in the process.  Whilst in hospital his job in a video rental store is given to someone else and he returns home to find his landlord has kicked him out and changed the locks.  After living on the streets of Paris for a short while her is taken in by a “family” of typically Jeunet misfits.  One day he comes across two large buildings sat across the street facing each other, he realises from the logos that they are the weapons manufacturers responsible for making the bullet now lodged in his head and the landmine that killed his farther.  He begins plotting their downfall in a round about Heath Robinson sort of way.

The cast is made up of suitably eccentric characters who all have unique foibles and skills that are utilised in the madcap plot.  There are some wonderfully implausible set pieces including a break-in to one of the arms dealer’s houses that is equal parts the break-in at Langley from Mission Impossible and rescue from Sid Phillips house in Toy Story.  The film is a visual treat that seems to exist in a world that looks like the real world on the surface but is just a little off kilter.  Look out for the Micmacs posters on billboards within in the film and a Mel Brooks moment with an orchestra.  A great thing about the characters in the movie and most of the director’s previous works is that you are left wanting to see more of them.  There is plenty of scope for a sequel but he never cops out or cashes in by producing one.  That is something to be praised.

As someone who loves both Delicatessen and The City Of Lost Children I was probably predisposed to love this movie too but also having to admit it isn’t as good as either of those early films.  It also isn’t as good as his biggest hit Amélie but when a director sets his bar so high, a slightly weaker film is still head and shoulders above what all but a select few filmmakers cans do.

Four Stars out of Five

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