Micmacs Review: Fantastique!

MICMACS (12A): On Nationwide Release From 26th February 2010

For those of you who saw French lovely Amélie and didn’t like it, maybe it’s time to give director Jean-Pierre Jeunet another try. He’s returned to filmmaking after a gap of five years, and boy – it is quite a comeback.

Micmacs follows Bazil (Dany Boon), who was orphaned several years previously when a landmine killed his father and his mother was too traumatized to care for him. As an adult, Bazil is accidentally hit in the head with a stray bullet that ends up lodged in his brain, meaning he could die at any second.

Through further general misfortune he becomes homeless on the streets of Paris. But things start to look up when an ex-con named Slammer introduces Bazil to a happy bunch of misfits who decide to adopt him. When he hatches a plan to get revenge on the munitions companies that made the bullet and the landmine, his new family decide to pitch in.

Micmacs is utterly charming but in a more down to earth way than Amélie was. The story is part heist movie, part sweet-natured drama coated with splashes of silent-era comedy. Bazil, played by Dany Boon, is such a likable character and though he doesn’t shoulder the entire movie like Audrey Tatou did, I sense that he could have done easily. His Buster Keaton-esque comedy style and his amiable nature make him an engaging screen presence.

Rounding out the ensemble cast are several quirky characters: Mama Chow, Buster the daredevil, Tiny Pete the unexpected strongman, Remmington the ethnographer and Calculator who’s a human…well, calculator. Elastic Girl, played by Julie Ferrier, is a great foil to Boon’s Bazil and even makes an unlikely romantic interest.

Proving that he hasn’t lost his touch, Jeunet infuses every frame with love using animations and surreality. I had been worried that he would oversaturate the film with fantastical elements but I found myself wishing he had because he’s just so good at it.

Jeunet puts Amélie’s wide-eyed charm in a blender with Hollywood homages and sweet melancholic tragedies and what comes out is Micmacs.


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