Tuesday 20 April 2010

Review: Micmacs

Year: 2009 (UK release 2010)
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Screenplay: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant
Starring: Dany Boon, André Dussollier, Nicolas Marié, Julie Ferrier

Synopsis is here

The first few scenes at the beginning of Micmacs, not only tell us all we need to know about the our lead and his back story, but they are so cinematic in design that it does so without the need of dialogue. These early scenes don't waste a thing and like many of Jeunet's movies skews the viewpoint just enough that you know what sort of a ride your going to be in for. It's going to be oddball, it's going to be quirky and of course, way out of left field.

Tonally the film reminded me of Jeunet's Delicatessen, tittering over its dark territory (weapon manufacturing), and using humor to shed light on a subject that is usually reserved for more serious affair. This approach (much like his 1991 cult hit) works. Much like Delicatessen (which the film craftily makes a reference to); a dystopian feature about cannibalism features an amusing, rhythmic, bed squeaking scene that was nabbed by advertising very quickly (if I recall, i may be wrong). Micmac has scenes that maintain the same surreal nature. I tell you this may be the only film where an adopted group of homeless people with seemingly useless skills, band together in their scrapyard home to take on two weapon conglomerates. To add to this, they do it Ocean's 11 style. The simulates become apparent when we meet the very flexible contortionist played with an amusing amount of spunk by Julie Ferrier.

While I make silly comparisons to Steven Sodenbergh, it's clearly older films which get Jeunet going. The film loves to make neat little references to more silent features with most of the leads playing their roles with Keaton like dead pan, and of course the film is french so expect the obligatory Bogart moment.

The film's social commentary isn't as damming as possible but with this said the film doesn't want it to be. Also later on, when the film appears to want to make a massive point about the evils of these mercenaries, the film suddenly feels a little off, it's not what we signed up for. Fortunately Jeunet makes up for this very soon after.

What else to say about Micmacs? Well it is very funny, that's one thing. The movie has it's fair share of giggles, particularly with the actors playful performances. Even the love story within the plot has more smirk moments than your usual rom-com movie. The film is also gorgeous to look at. There some beautiful set design with our heroes scrapyard being a charming "palace" of clutter, with surroundings that wouldn't look too out of place if they shared a fence with the backyard of Terry Gilliam's head.

Micmac's has been out for a little while now and will probably disappear from theaters, soon be a rental for those who know of Jeunet's work or the slightly curious. To them I say go for it. To those who may not have heard of the guy or still have a severe Alien Resurrection hangover, I say the same thing. It just might be the cure.