Friday, 2 April 2010


Hopscotch Films
Now Showing

The films of French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet have a very distinct look and feel, from the colour scheme to the characters and the world they inhabit. It’s a style which you could describe as hyper-real as well as whimsical, and one that you either embrace or don't.

Jeunet’s previous efforts, A Very Long Engagement (2004) and the much-loved Amelie (2001), both starring Audrey Tatou, were very much in this vein and I adored both of those films. But Micmacs, a caper comedy about a group of misfits who take on two armaments companies by inflaming the pre-existing rivalry between their owners, I did not.

Bazil (Dany Boon), galvanized into action by the land mine death of his father and the recent lodging of a stray bullet in his own cranium (some 30 years of character history condensed into a brilliant five minute opener), utilizes his new found family of oddballs, who reside beneath a Parisian scrapyard, in the downfall of the two weapons manufacturers.

Jeunet's depiction of his heroes as pure of heart and the arms dealers as pure evil was one of my main problems with the film. While I am no armaments sympathiser (or Fox News subscriber), the simplistic typecasting of good and evil was too trite for me, even within the realms of a fable which Jeunet's film is so obviously pitched.

There are, of course, some amusing and inventive moments, played out with a nod to silent era comedies, Buster Keaton meets Ocean's 11 if you will. But for me, the fun was not infectious.

If you are a fan of Jeunet or just have a soft spot for Amelie and A Very Long Engagement, you may want to give Micmacs the benefit of the doubt. But if you found those films too whimsical or twee, than I'd suggest you treat Micmacs like a land mine and give it a wide berth.

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