Avid movie-watcher and video store clerk Bazil has had his life all but ruined by weapons of war. His father was killed by a landmine in Morocco and one fateful night a stray bullet from a nearby shootout embeds itself in his skull, leaving him on the verge of instantaneous death. Losing his job and his home, Bazil wanders the streets until he meets Slammer, a pardoned convict who introduces him to a band of eccentric junkyard dealers including Calculator, a math expert and statistician, Buster, a record-holder in human cannonball feats, Tiny Pete, an artistic craftsman of automatons, and Elastic Girl, a sassy contortionist. When chance reveals to Bazil the two weapons manufacturers responsible for building the instruments of his destruction, he constructs a complex scheme for revenge that his newfound family is all too happy to help set in motion. Written by
The Massie Twins
Here's the plot: as a kid, this guy's father was killed in North Africa by a landmine made by one armaments manufacturer. His poor widowed mother tries her best to raise him, and does, but in relative poverty. Then, as a young man, he is shot in the head with a bullet made by another armaments manufacturer. Recovering, and living on the streets as a result of carrying the bullet around with him in his brain, ready to kill him at any minute, in a moment of seeming realization he decides that his purpose in this possibly-short life is to take REVENGE on these armaments manufacturers, and in so doing put an end to them being able to supply weapons of war forever.
You can visualize the plot in your head. After all, you've seen variants of this "angry vigilante takes matters into his own hands and exacts justice" on screen a hundred times. OK, maybe a couple of dozen times. In the in-your-head version, you were probably expecting someone like Steven Seagall or Sylvester Stallone playing the young man, if they hadn't gotten so old and fat and all, and if their box office appeal hadn't tanked. You're probably imagining all the glorious mayhem, death, and carnage -- with lots of explosions thrown in, of course, because it's about arms dealers, after all.
Now imagine this plot written and filmed by the guy who made "Amélie" and "Delicatessen" and "The City Of Lost Children." As a kind of quirky surrealist comedy. That's "Micmacs à tire-larigot," by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, released in the US as "Micmacs." Because it's a Jeunet film, and his films pretty much define "ensemble casts," he has rounded up the usual suspects, and supplemented them with Danny Boon in the lead and André Dussollier as one of the arms dealers. Because it's a Jeunet film, expect amazing but subtle visuals. "Amélie," after all, was the most CGI-maniuplated film in history when it was released. There was hardly a single frame that had not had its colors changed and other things done to it to put on screen the vision Jeunet saw in *his* head. My bet is that "Micmacs" beats "Amélie's" record.
And it's a hoot. In a quirky, French way, that is. Danny Boon is tremendous, aided in his plot by an incredibly sweet group of misfits and a lot of recycled junk. Not to be missed if you're a fan of Jeunet's work.
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