Jean-Pierre Jeunet is most known for directing Amelie and Micmacs has constantly been compared to this previous romantic comedy hit . However Micmacs should really be aligned much more with French visual comedy’s like the films of Jacques Tati as the gags mostly originate from mime and slapstick. A lot of the reaction to Micmacs has simply judged the film negatively against Amelie because of the absense of a heartwarming romance plot. But if you ignore this you will see Micmacs for what it really is; an inventive and hilarious film. The story follows Bazil, a Frenchman who loses his job after he was shot in a bizarre accident. The bullet is still stuck in Bazil’s head and could inch into his brain and kill him at any time, so homeless and jobless he is forced to earn what he can as a street artist. However he is quickly taken in by an unusual street family who all have similar bizarre life stories. When Bazil discovers the manufacturer of the bullet in his brain and the manufacturer of the landmine that killed his father both have their offices opposite each other in Paris he hatches a plan. With the help of his new found family Bazil gets his revenge on these arms dealers with a series of hilarious and clever tricks.
Bazil’s adoptive family features a range of quirky souls – from a girl who can calculate any distance or measurement instantaneously to a contortionist who is flexible enough to fit inside a fridge. This family of oddballs have been compared by Jeunet himself to Snow White‘s seven dwarfs but the inventive side of their caper more recalls Wallace and Gromit. Although the plot is quite absurd it’s a great piece of cinema and one of the funniest films of the year so far. The performances are all outstanding especially Danny Boon as Bazil who manages to stretch his face into some hilarious expressions but the most recognisable face to most audiences will be Yolande Moreau, who plays the mother of the family and was in last years Seraphine.
Micmacs is also a great watch for film buffs as there are lots of intertextual references – the film even uses Max Steiner’s original score for The Big Sleep. As the characters travel through Paris the film also creates its own in-joke as all the billboards that appear on the streets are for Micmacs and are usually duplicating the shot that is shown itself on the screen. One of the films most refreshing ideas comes from the uncharacteristic representations of Paris – rather than the overused Eiffel tower shots that Paris based films often rely on instead Micmacs goes to Paris’ quieter and own quirky side such as the Montmarte cemetery. This antic filled film could also be compared to the wacky style of Terry Gilliam but more specifically if you liked last years French caper Rumba and are a fan of quirky films like Bunny and the Bull then this is an absolute much watch!