Thursday, 1 November 2012

Micmacs (2009)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is the French king of quirkiness. Some, like myself, love that quality of his movies. Others absolutely hate it and will never be converted. Micmacs is perhaps his quirkiest movie yet so if you give it a viewing and you're not the biggest fan of Jeunet then don't say that you weren't warned.

Danny Boon stars as Bazil, a man who has suffered through his life thanks to arms dealers. When Bazil was a young boy his father was killed by a landmine. As an adult, he suffers even more directly when he's shot in the head. The bullet doesn't kill him but it does change his entire life. Because an operation might actually put him into a vegetative state, he is left with the bullet lodged in his brain. He's also left with no job and no home, both lost while he recovered in hospital. Thankfully, someone spots Bazil trying to struggle by on the streets and invites him along to meet a bunch of people who live in the depths of a junkyard. This band of eccentrics - including a female controtionist (Julie Ferrer), a woman who can calculate measurements instantly (Marie-Julie Baup) and a man who was once in the book of world records for his feat as a human cannonball (Dominique Pinon) - welcomes Bazil  with open arms. When Bazil is out walking one day and finds himself standing directly in between the buildings of both the company responsible for the landmine that killed his father and the company that made the bullet now lodged in his head he decides that he wants to get revenge. He thinks that he will somehow manage on his own but his new friends soon correct him and insist on helping out. They then set out to show that revenge isn't always a dish best served cold. It's sometimes very enjoyable when it's served with imagination, a selection of unique skills anda dollop of humour.

It's quirky, it's almost constantly upbeat and it's full of larger than life characters, which means one thing. If you hate Amelie then you'll probably hate this, too. I love Amelie and I've loved pretty much everything that I've seen from Jean-Pierre Jeunet (okay, I didn't LOVE Alien: Resurrection but I did enjoy it more than most people). Micmacs doesn't change my opinion of him one bit, it's another warm (in terms of content and visual style) and off-kilter story populated by great actors having fun playing great characters.

Danny Boon does very well in the lead role but the movie is very much an ensemble piece with everyone getting their chance to shine. Ferrer, Baup and Pinon are great fun, as are Yolande Moreau and Omar Sy, playing the junkyard-dwelling misfits. Andre Dussollier and Nicolas Marie are also both very good as the warmongers who find themselves being, unwittingly, played off against one another.

If you scrutinise the movie too closely then you will see how flimsy it all is. It's lightweight, most of the delights onscreen are completely unnecessary and the implausibility of it all starts to build up from the first few scenes but it's not a movie that you should scrutinise too closely. It sets out to entertain from start to finish and succeeds.


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