Sunday, 28 February 2010
It seems Jean Pierre Jeunet did not appreciate the middling reception that A Very Long Engagement received back in 2004, because it took him six years to release another. And rather then the triumphant comeback we were hoping for, he's delivered a film very similar to that in quality if not in ambition. Its by no means bad. Its got his trademark creative visuals and quirky humor, but the problem is it feels like a slight regression for the man who made Amelie. This is perhaps Jeunet's Tideland. A film that suffers slightly because of too much of the director's personality, rather then the traditional not enough.
The plot sees Bazil (Dany Boon) and his makeshift family of misfits try to take revenge on the CEO'S of the armoury companies responsible for making the stray bullet he caught in the head. If that sounds cluttered, incomprehensible and crazy, well that's because it is. Micmacs doesn't bear much favor for explaining itself, because it is so enjoying its own madcap adventure. We occassionally get to join in the fun, but the entirely uncensored onslaught of quirk does wear on one's patience slightly. Particularly when its given no base or explanation, as in the first half hour, in which Bazil's induction into his new family is handled with the nuance as your average episode of Pushng Daisies. Its just basically rinsed in about forty-five seconds. Once the revenge plot kicks in, and the movie switches from aimless indiefest to a con-man movie, it picks itself up. In large part due to the performances of Andre Dussollier and Nicolas Marie as the dastardly capitalist arms dealers in question. They lend the film a bit more bite and personality, and feel far more credible then any of heroes, all played to Ace Ventura levels of mugging. And since no-one here was Jim Carrey, it was not OK. Boon, who I've seen actually display acting talent in the past I was a slight disappointed by, although his gift for Physical comedy made up for an otherwise absent performance.
Its very creative in design and in photography, few directors do more with the camera then Jeunet, but its such a rambling, incoherent mess that the enjoyable homeless Oceans Eleven quality of the last half hour can't quite make up for it's previous discretions. I still hold out the hope that Amelie isn't going to be the only truly great film this very talented director ever makes, but I say it with less conviction the I used to, most definately.