Review by Jack Foley
JEAN-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs is an absolute gem of a movie: a visual treat that’s intelligent, thought-provoking and often hilariously funny.
Admittedly, it embraces themes that are common to all of Jeunet’s past films. But when you’re having this much fun, it hardly seems to notice.
Essentially a revenge drama with both Looney Tunes and Pixar inspired tomfoolery, the film follows the fortunes of video store clerk Bazil (Danny Boon), after he is hit in the head with a stray bullet while witnessing a gun battle.
Fortunate to survive, Bazil is nevertheless left homeless and jobless, but is taken in by a misfit group of scrapyard dwelling eccentrics who each boast a set of extraordinary skills.
Seeing an opportunity, Bazil begins to plot an extravagant revenge plan against the weapons manufacturers responsible for making the bullet, as well as the landmine that was responsible for killing his father some years earlier.
Jeunet has described Micmacs as a cross between all of his films, from Delicatessen and Amelie, that also marks a conclusion of sorts. And he remains unapologetic for the recurrent theme of an orphan taking on a monster.
In this case, we’re with him all the way. In lesser hands, Micmacs could have become a routine revenge drama that was violent, crude and a victim of its own message.
With Jeunet’s mercurial touch, it’s an ingenious romp that fuses child-like innocence and cartoonish/Buster Keaton elements with adult flights of fantasy.
The film is positively brimming with ideas, often supplied by the oddball characters that inhabit it – whether it’s a kooky female contortionist who can fit anywhere she feels, or a mechanical scuplture creator with unknown strength, or even Boon’s own Chaplin-esque hero, who is an unlikely foil for the corporations he’s going up against.
The various revenge schemes are a blast, too, combining those classic comic elements with touches of Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarantino.
Indeed, not a frame feels wasted… so much so that the film demands at least one repeat viewing to catch up with what you missed the first time (whether it’s sly self-references in the form of a Delicatessen cameo or posters advertising Micmacs itself!), or the various subtleties inherent in every performance or plot twist.
Jeunet, in short, has created another masterpiece to rival previous masters works such as Amelie and A Very Long Engagement. It’s a film not to be missed.
In French, with subtitles
Running time: 104mins
UK DVD and Blu-ray Release: June 21, 2010
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Jean-Pierre Jeunet interview
- Micmacs Photo Gallery