Monday, June 28, 2010

MICMACS: The Film Babble Blog Review

MICMACS (Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2009)



It's been way too long since French twisted fantasy-centric film maker Jean-Pierre Jeunet (DELICATESSEN, THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, AMELIE) has graced the screen with his uber colorful thrusting imagery.

His stunning style is instantly recognizable in the first few frames of MICMACS, his first film since A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT (2004). In the swift motions of a great storyteller we see a soldier being killed in the desert by a landmine, his devastated wife institutionalized, and son (Noé Boon) sent off to Catholic School before growing up to be a video store clerk (Dany Boon) who can lip-synch every line of THE BIG SLEEP (the dubbed into French version BTW). One night a stray bullet from a drive-by shootout ends up embedded in his skull.

After Boon gets out of the hospital he finds that he has lost his job and apartment so he has to turns to street performance for the pittance of passerby's. Luckily he's a skilled Chaplin-esque showman so he's about to float through a few months until he meets Jean-Pierre Marielle as an ex con vendor. Marielle introduces Boon to his "family" - a rag tag ensemble of scrap heap dwellers who all make magic out of scrap metal. The trash troop includes Jeunet regular Dominique Pinon who claims to hold the world record as a human cannonball, Julie Ferrier as a contortionist (and love interest for Boon) who can make room in the fridge for, well, herself, Yolande Moreau as the slightly dizzy den mother, and Omar Sy as a crafty ethnographer as well as an accomplished mimic.

Boon has found a home and shortly after happens upon the opulent headquarters of the arms dealers responsible for the death of his father and the bullet in his head. His impossibly elaborate revenge schemes are enacted by his new cohorts in trickery. André Dussolier and Nicolas Marie as the offending snooty villains of the piece are besotted and baffled at every turn with a smorgasbord of well timed and often hilarious obstacles aimed at the butt of their weapons manufacturing empires.



MICMACS is a bit overdone and cutesy at times but has so many ideas and so much going on in nearly every shot that one can let that slide. So much so that I can also let slide the cringe-worthy anti-war bent to the climax. Its ginormous sense of wonder is overwhelming - it's easily the most visually pleasing live action film this year.

Jeunet's whimsical approach which was so exhilarating in AMELIE and his work with Marc Caro, is at once both modern and classical. The film is wrapped in the traditional packaging of many TCM staples (the opening elegant credits after the cold opening, the silent film steals, the playful piano plinking, etc.) yet the film utilizes CGI and gives us Jeunet embracing the age of YouTube. I'd highly recommend seeing MICMACS on the big screen if you can. You really need a large canvas for such a pulsating painting like this.

More later...

1 comment:

Prisms of Light said...

I really wish I'd read this review sooner can't believe I missed seeing it on the big screen!

You gotta love his work though :)

p.s- LOVE the blog!