Micmacs: Don't Mess With A Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
I love French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, best known for his films "Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain" and "Un Long Dimanche De Fiancialles" (otherwise known as "Amelie" and "A Very Long Engagement"). He has a quirky and inventive style that results in interesting characters, clever wordplay, and a general sense of fun in most of his work.
It is therefore not hard to guess that I quite liked his latest film, 2009's "Micmacs A Tire'L'Arigot," known as "Micmacs" in the US. This film has the quirky characters, odd humor, and interesting plot that's fairly standard to Jeunet films, and while it's not the masterpiece that "A Very Long Engagement" was, it was still a fantastic film.
The main character of "Micmacs" is Bazil (Dany Boon), whose father was killed by a landmine when he was a child, and who, 30 years later, is shot in the head when he accidentally wanders into a gang shooting. The bullet is lodged in such a way that removing would render him a vegetable, so he has to have it stuck in his head, meaning he could die any day. In addition, his time in the hospital resulted in him losing both his job and his apartment, meaning hes now homeless.
Bazil is a fairly cheerful fellow, however, and manages to make do as a street performer, until he is recruited by an old man named Slammer (Jean-Pierre Marielle) to join a band of weirdos who live in a junkyard and use their unusual talents to find work as salvagers, who resell some of the stuff they find and use the rest to create a variety of intricate machines, While collecting salvage one day, Bazil discovers the two arms manufacturers that created the mine which blew up his father and the bullet which is lodged in his brain, and enlists the rest of the salvage crew to help him in getting an elaborate revenge on Marconi (Nicolas Marie) and De Fenouillet (Andre Dussolier), the CEOs of the two companies.
As I said earlier, Jeunet's overall lightheartedness is a great asset, and it somehow works in this film when it really shouldn't given the subject matter. All of the salvage crew are charming, from the Congolese former ethnographer who talks entirely in idioms to the girl who can calculate anything instantaneously to the Bazil's love interest, a hot-headed contortionist known as the Elastic Girl (Julie Ferrier), and it was great fun to watch all of them interact with each other. The two CEOs also stood out as being good villains, both slimy and unlikable in their own ways but also oddly human at times, which made it all the funnier when they got what they deserve throughout the film.
All in all, this is a clever and fun film, and one that definitely warrants a watch. Check it out if you come across it!