Micmacs (Micmacs a Tire-Larignot)
The re-evaluation of the golden age of slapstick cinema (cue Paul Merton and sparse piano riff) comes full circle with this slight but enjoyably manic satire from Amélie and Delicatessen director Jean Pierre Jeunet.
Left with a bullet in his cerebellum from a freak accident, eccentric loner Bazil (Danny Boon) is homeless in Paris. Taken in by a bunch of insane refuseniks who live deep inside one of the city’s dumps, Bazil plots his revenge on the men who made and sell the weapon that put the lethal fragment in his head. Utilising the fairly deranged set of skills of his new family (a contortionist, a ex human cannonball, a poet performer, a junk collector etc) Bazil sets about pitting the city’s two most powerful armaments companies against one another.
In evoking the ghosts of Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati (although in terms of pure ingenuity and execution finesse Harold Lloyd is a better comparison) and displacing them in an anarchic underground world peopled by the forgotten and abused (both men and machines), Jeunet is clearly on familiar ground. Jeunet takes Tati’s slapstick deconstructions of modern technology (most noticeably Traffic and Playtime) and funnels them into a traditional heist thriller format. It’s all fun, innovative stuff, which plays out like a live action Wallace and Gromit cartoon.
Allegedly shot quickly when Jeunet pulled out of adapting Yann Martel’s Life of Pi for cinema (following a tortuous and long shoot for 2004’s A Very Long Engagement), Micmacs is what it is – a work of transition from a gifted filmmaker, and it will certainly do for now. More cheese please Gromit.
Selected release from Fri 26 Feb.