Rating:4 stars out of 5
The Stars: Danny Boon, Andre Dussollier, Nicolas Marie, Dominique Pinon.
The Buzz: Micmacsmarks celebrated French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement) first feature after a five year hiatus. Riding on a script he co-wrote with long-time collaborator, Guillaume Laurant, the film’s full title in French "Micmacs à tire-larigot" literally means "non-stop shenanigans".
The Story: As a kid, Bazil (Boon) loses his father to an unfortunate landmine incident. Fast forward a few years into adulthood, and he’s now stuck in a dead-end job at a video store. While on night shift, Bazil gets struck in the head by a wayward bullet from a gun skirmish outside his shop. This leads to a chain of events where Bazil winds up getting adopted by an eccentric band of vagabonds who recycle various bric-a-bracs for a living. Returning home from a particularly fruitful trip of knick-knack collection one day, he drives past some buildings and recognizes one of their emblems from his late father’s belongings. Driven by curiosity, he decides to investigate and discovers that these two buildings standing opposite each other belong to a pair of corrupted weapons dealers, who were indirectly responsible for his father’s untimely demise. Determined to make them pay for what they did to his family and to prevent them from perpetuating their wicked intentions, Bazil, together with his newfound friends, plot an elaborate scheme to sabotage the heads of the two companies with amusing results.
inSing says: A guy with a bullet permanently lodged in his brain, a contortionist, a record-setting living cannonball, a human calculator, Winston Churchill’s nail clippings, two international arms dealers who live across the street from each other; Jeunet’s plot plays out more like a barmy, mind-bending dream. The story sounds insanely ludicrous and is essentially a caricaturist farce pumped with over-the-top scams, all silly enough to make you cringe yet so well executed everything is just as enjoyable to watch.
Boon does amazing work with Bazil’s quirks, especially in earlier scenes where he’s basically tasked with pulling off a silent film. The supporting cast, which mostly consists of relative unknowns, also complements him magnificently – sprinkling their characters with spectacular individuality. And though it’s thoroughly entertaining to witness the two arms dealers square off one another, the movie is equally, if not more fun when it’s simply the gang sitting round the table having a meal.
Dispensing with his preference for dark undertones, Jeunet stamps the film with his signature whimsical, clever visual style à la Amelie, and melds these delightful peculiarities with the hijinks of cartoons like Tom and Jerry. Micmacs might not reverberate emotionally, but is an enchanting comeback with a big heart and even bigger soul.