Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Can I Supersize My Micmacs Combo?

Micmacs


Recently I have been thinking a lot about my experiences at TIFF (aka The Toronto International Film Festival) over the last 9 years. I may even compile a reflective piece on the various years I attended for a future blog post. One of the catalysts for my nostalgic trip down memory lane is the release of my favourite film from the 2009 TIFF, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs.

Bazil’s (Dany Boon) life is turned upside down after a drive-by-shooting leaves a bullet lodged in his head. Homeless, and aimlessly roaming the streets of Paris, Bazil stumbles upon an eccentric cast of characters who invite him to join their makeshift squatter family. With the help of his newfound friends, Bazil devises a scheme to get revenge on the two weapons manufacturers that have caused the collapse of his old way of life.

Finishing second runner-up for TIFF’s people choice award in 2009, which was won by Precious, Micmacs is truly a crowd-pleaser. Jean-Pierre Jeunet brings his whimsical imagination, previously displayed in films such as Delicatessen and Amelie, to the caper movie genre. Despite the subject matter, which centers on makers of weapons of mass destruction, Jeunet is not really interested in making a grand political statement. Micmac’s main goal is to entertain and, as far as screwball comedies go, it succeeds on several levels.


Similar to how Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle turned the martial arts genre into an outlandish farce, Jean-Pierre Jeunet brings that same Looney Toons style of comedy to his heist films. Though you cheer on Bazil his motives, in the grand scheme of things, are not really that important. Micmacs is all about watching this small ragtag bunch of eccentrics trying to execute Bazil’s elaborate and deceptive plan.

One of the highlights for me was watching Dany Boon’s physical comedic timing. Boon’s performance helps Micmac’s achieve the Chuck Jones level of insanity that it strives for. The romantic subtext in this film is nowhere near as engaging as Amelie but, to be honest, it only plays a minor role in the story anyways. Micmacs may not have the emotional resonance of some of Jeunet’s other films, but this no reason to let this film pass you by. There will be few films this year that offers more laughs, and overall fun, than Micmac does.

6 comments:

  1. I...must...see...this...

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  2. @Simon - If you like Jeunet's other films than you should really enjoy this. A great popcorn flick.

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  3. Great review.

    I'm looking forward to getting back to TIFF after sitting out much of it last year...I didn't even remember that this even played, let alone that it finished so well in the People's Choice.

    I quite liked it overall, especially all of that Looney Toons zaniness you mentioned.

    I've seldom laughed harder than I did to the comeback on "Are you a contortionist?"

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  4. @Hatter - The film got overshadowed by many of the buzz films (e.g. The Road, Up in the Air, AntiChrist, etc.) yet it still managed to grab a good size crowed at the screening.

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  5. Well Jeunet did pretty well at TIFF with AMELIE, right? So it stands to reason that this would go well too.

    Know what else? Given the unscientific nature of the People's Choice Award, I'd be surprised if it's second place finish to PRECIOUS was in fact the case...and not the TIFF folk trying to thank a sexy production for coming to town.

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  6. @Hatter - I could not remember who the first runner up was so i lookded it up:

    Cadillac People’s Choice Award:
    “Precious” Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” directed by Lee Daniels

    First Runner up: “Mao’s Last Dancer” directed by Bruce Beresford

    Second Runner up: “Micmacs” directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

    Full list of last years winners:
    http://www.indiewire.com/article/toronto_film_festival_award_winners/

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