Written by Simon Lewis
Micmacs Ã tire-larigot is directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who brought us the beautifully off-beat Amelie, A very long engagement and, strangely, Alien Resurrection. The title translates to either â€˜endless big messâ€™ or â€˜dodgy dealings by the dozens,â€™ both of which sum it up pretty well.
The film opens in a desert, where a man is killed by a landmine. We cut to the present day, where the landmine victimâ€™s son, Bazil, has grown up to work in a video store when a stray bullet from a bit of crime happening outside catches him square in the forehead. The bullet has lodged in his brain and, after a highly scientific toss of a coin by the surgeon, is left there. The ensconced bullet, reminiscent of the megalomaniacal Robert Carlyle in The World Is Not Enough, leaves him twitchy and perpetually on the brink of death.
On his discharge from hospital a personal apocalypse has rid him of his apartment and his job and heâ€™s out on the street. He wonders around Paris, before being taken in by a troupe of Womble-like misfits: this gang makes good use of the things that they find, things that the everyday folks leave behind.
Bazilâ€™s adopters all have different skills: in this second hand superhero league thereâ€™s a contortionist, a human calculator and a wonderful stenographer who speaks entirely in clichÃ©d phrases. Tiny Pete is an artisan who conjures fiddly robotic contraptions from Parisian debris.
The world they inhabit is dirty and magical, and the series of pranks they play to exact Bazilâ€™s revenge are full of ingeniousÂ Wallace and Gromit physicality. They culminate in a coup de grace which champions the democratising power of the internet.
When Bazil happens upon the HQ of the makers of his brain-bullet – conveniently adjacent to the makers of the landmine that robbed him of a father – the film becomes a little guyâ€™s revenge fantasy against the arms industry.
This is rich, glorious tragicomedy. Dany Boon as Bazil brings silent movie sight gags and a bizarrely contorting, sympathetic face. We are treated to an intriguing world of kooky coincidence that pulls you out of your reality like the best of French cinema. That playful Gallic wit that never quite falls into slapstick powers this light but effective ridicule of the profiteers of war. At the heart of the film is the reassuring notion that the world’s problems are caused by a few bad eggs and, little by little, can be solved by our own actions. And though the happenstance, serendipitous cosmic conditions in the film may be on the ‘quirky’ side, the camraderie and visual treats on screen are genuinely uplifting.
Last edited: 20th February 2010
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