What movie was that...?

01 August 2010


directed by Jean Pierre Jeunet

Before I get into this review, we all need to get one thing clear: Watching any Jean Pierre Jeunet film is like venturing into a surreally endearing alternate reality where even the harshest of truths have a candy coating. And watching Micmacs assumes that the audience is already on the level avec Jeunet, and that this strange shared history of film work and film viewing has created a kind of starry-eyed infatuation with all things Jeunet. If you ever find yourself defending Alien Resurrection as the strongest of the series, then you, my friend, have drunk too deeply from Jeunet’s affectionate tonic, and Micmacs counts on your unconditional love to resolve the uneven and untended plot. This is not to say that the film was bad, but as far as Jeunet films go, it was probably his weakest work to date. This makes it a mediocre film with flashes of beauty and tenderness that wrench the heart. Too bad these moments don’t appear as often as with, say, The City of Lost Children or Amelie, but they do materialize, mostly as the result of the tragic-comic genius of Dany Boon, whose street performer background helps him to bring the role of Bazil to life. Bazil, as the result of a cosmic fluke, ends up with a bullet lodged in his head. After waking up from his coma, he finds himself homeless and unemployed, but a group of outcasts adopt him and help him to carry out a revenge plot on the munitions company that made the fated bullet. Most likely the oddest antiwar slash antiweapons films your are likely to see, Micmacs, like all Jeunet films, finds the windiest way to its point, and the journey always threatens to lose a few stragglers. Try to stay with it.
P.S. Dany Boon wrote, directed and starred in a 2008 film called Bienvenue chez Les Ch’tis, aka Welcome to the Sticks, about a disgraced mailman banished to a rural town in northern France. Those of you possessing both a love for wordplay (so, nerds. Who are we kidding?) and a strong French speaking background are likely to get a kick out of this comedy. Word around the campfire is that there is going to be an American version starring Will Smith. Unlike a lot of watered down, awesomed down American redoes, I may actually be looking forward to his one. At least with an American version, I won’t have to call up my old French teacher to figure out just what the hell was so funny…

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