Monday, 8 March 2010

Micmacs (2010)


Plot Summary: A man and his friends come up with an intricate and original plan to destroy two big weapons manufacturers.

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet makes films of the Marmite variety; you’ll either love them or hate them (and I’ll admit outright - I fall into the former category). His quirky French tales continue to divide audiences due to his preoccupation with oddball characters, distinctive sense of humour and unconventional cinematic style. However, as opposed to someone such as Tim Burton, Jeunet has not yet become a caricature of himself due to his somewhat meagre output over the last eighteen years. Micmacs, his first film in five, is being billed as somewhat of a comeback and has been described as a synthesis of his first film, Delicatessen, and his breakout hit; Amélie. Herein lies the problem with the film; while it’s certainly solid filmmaking and highly enjoyable, Micmacs feels a little like Jeunet’s very own Sleepy Hollow.

Micmacs feels as if it’s missing something, that original spark which made his earlier films such a joy to watch. The previously mentioned comparison is very telling for the film is neither as darkly twisted as Delicatessen, nor nearly as touching as Amélie. Micmacs once again tackles the old theme of outsiders fighting for justice, scenes detailing the minute details of individuals’ habits; even the end credit sequence is lifted straight from Delicatessen. There is, however, much to love about the film. Micmacs is beautifully shot in Jeunet’s signature gold hue throughout which really brings the screen to life and aptly conveys the fantastical world of the narrative. The weird and wonderful characters all have their own, distinctive qualities and are all likeable to the extent that you wish you knew them in real life. Their schemes and inventions are all highly creative, making a lot of the scenes feel like watching something in between a circus show and an art exhibition. All the while a playful, typically French sounding orchestral soundtrack perfectly complements these eccentric characters and their exploits.

The actors themselves do a wonderful job, with Danny Boon (playing the main character, Bazil) giving the standout performance. Boon is apparently a major comedic actor in France but has not since found fame outside of the country which is a shame. His mannerisms, miming and general screen presence provides a lot of the film's laughs and as such Boon becomes of the best things about the film. Micmacs is also very clever in its delivery and comedic tone; more than several scenes had me laughing out loud. The story of corrupt weapons dealers, however unconventionally portrayed, is an important one which has many parallels to contemporary French (and worldwide, for that matter) politics even if it is rather predictable in its conclusion. All in all Micmacs is a very amusing and heart warming film but, in drawing a little too much from his previous work, Jeunet falls just short of brilliance.

Final Verdict: 7/10.

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