REVIEW: DVD Release: Micmacs

Film: Micmacs
Release date: 21st June 2010
Certificate: 12
Running time: 101 mins
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Dany Boon, Andre Dussollier, Nicolas Marie, Jean Pierre Marielle, Yolande Moreau
Genre: Comedy/Crime/Action/Romance
Studio: E1
Format: DVD & Blu-ray
Country: France

With Amelie and Delicatessen now widely regarded as classics in film comedy, and world cinema in general, the big question ahead of Micmacs’s much-hyped release was if it could possibly live up to now bloated expectations of the director.

The story starts with a roadside bomb fatality. The unfortunate’s son, Bazil (Dany Boon), grows up without his father, but he’s found some contentment working in a video shop. Now, over thirty years since his father’s demise, Bazil survives a random bullet to the head that is too risky for doctors to remove. After learning he must live with this precarious bullet, which may take away his life at any moment, his time in recovery causes him to lose his apartment and his job. A man now with nothing left to lose, he steals his hat back from a child and goes on his way, using his cunning and schemes to survive on the streets.

A chance meeting with Placard (Marielle) leads Bazil to a salvage yard and a group of misfits he comes to know as his ‘family’. The oddball group are experts in salvage and repair, all of them sharing some sort of bizarre physical intimacy with metalwork in their bodies. Seeing him as one of their own, they are ready to help Bazil exact playful but meticulous revenge on the two people who’ve wronged him in his life - the makers of his father’s fatal roadside bomb, and the makers of the bullet still lodged in his head…

This film, coming from the hands of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is, of course, a wonderfully theatrical piece of storytelling. An unconventional opening to a comedy with a roadside bomb fatality maybe, but it sets the tone, and leads the way for a whole plethora of characteristically quirky moments from Jeunet. These are woven together through the revenge narrative that highlights the contrastingly stern subject matter of the arms trade. Of course, it’s these quirks that scream of Jeunet’s style; Bazil sucking salad cream from the sachet, an amorous couple exploding on a land mine, and even the credit sequence seamlessly entwined with a film within the film.

The family are full of idiosyncrasies, mirroring their home of collected damaged household items, with their talent and teamwork bringing them back to life. Hilarious and subtle performances from many of the family, notably Dominique Pinon as Fracasse - a hot-headed human cannonball, always at home in a Jeunet film - and Marie-Julie Baup (the talents of Calculette being instant visual calculation of size, weight or distance – this will prove very useful as the revenge scheme is put into practice).

The relationship between Bazil and La Môme Caoutchouc, the contortionist of the group, brought some touches of sentiment to the story – but it wasn’t weighted or explored significantly enough to have the right balance. Bazil could have fallen with more gusto, and given him more to risk. The family were literally shooting themselves out of cannons for him, and if Bazil had become more emotionally involved, it would have upped the ante. Despite this, a bright spark leaps from the screen the moment Bazil bursts into song down the chimney to where the contortionist is putting her skills to use in the villain’s domain. It was a surprisingly sweet moment.

Fortunately, an underdeveloped romantic subplot doesn’t tarnish the experience. Each frame is measured and absolutely makes the most of the production design, from the sweeping shots of landmine-scattered landscapes to the intimate points of view moments. The salvage heap, home to the family of oddballs, lays host to some genius mechanics and design, and all married by perfect grading.

Perhaps this detail is overwhelming, and that Jeunet’s almost obsessive attention to detail is unnecessarily OTT, but this an intentionally theatrical experience.

Transporting you to a bizarre world, this funny and intricate story is what Jean-Pierre Jeunet does best – even if it doesn’t quite reach the dizzy hits of Delicatessen or Amelie. VB

No comments:

Post a Comment