Jean Pierre Jeunetâ€™s long awaited follow up to A Long Engagement (his second and oscar nominated Audrey Tatou movie after Amelie) has finally arrived after a hiatus of 5 years. And for me it has been a long wait as I love his work ever since I saw City of Lost Children. You can clearly see all the hard work that goes into his movies so it’s understandable that it takes Jeunet a few years to build up his world but every frame of his movies is so well constructed, so richÂ and well-thought out that the effect of watching his movies lasts with you for a until you see something new of his hand.
Watching this movie I was forced to think of Wes Anderson and that other French creative Michel Gondry especially as they are all adept at creating a whimsical world that is probably translated frame by frame exactly how it was first conceived in their minds. But the best comparision I can make for Jeunet has to be Terry Gilliam. Not only do both of theses artists/directors (and not the otherway around)Â have an abundance of creativity which they manage to cram into to every free inch of the screen. They are at heart still clearly children although they are not scared to do show us the darker side within those fantasy.Â Making me think of the fariytales you used to hear before Disneyâ€™ got his corporate hands on everything and soiledÂ our collectiveÂ chilhood memoriesÂ with dancing bears and benevolent rabbits. the final similarityÂ between theÂ both of them is that they have been eyeing the (International) mainstream for a while without finding complete acceptance.
MicMacs (complete title Micmacs Ã tire-larigot) tells the story of good-natured but not the sharpest tool Bazil played by Danny Boon who looses his father and part of his cerebrum to 2 neighbouring Arms companies. Together with his rag tag bunch of down on their luck inventors, writers, contortionists all living in an underground scrap yard (surrounded by contraptions that Data from the Goonies invented before he moved to India to help out Dr.Jones) he decides to throw some gasoline flaming the fire between the companies 2 CEOâ€™s who probably have a long standing feud (imagine the intro scene in Duplicity where Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti duke it out on an Airplane fieldÂ being the backstory).
Micmacs is basically Jeunet’s take onÂ â€œYojimboâ€ or â€œFistful of Dollarsâ€, there is an escalation of a game of one-upmanshipÂ but instead of swords and six shooters we have the scene in Amelie where Audrey Tatou takes revenge on her evil grocery shop owner Mr Collignon drawn out for the entirety of this movie. The cast is filled up with Jeunetâ€™s regulars are extremely competent unfortunately Danny Boon doesnâ€™t have the charm that Tatou had forcing the audience to get enchanted. He does his simpleton act very well even reminding me of Charlie Chaplin to certain degrees and special mention to his West Flemish accent fakery which is pretty spot on! There are lots of visual gags and MicMacs is shot in the trademark Jeunet style. Dark but beatiful.
I would really recommend catching this movie, it just released in the UK and other countries are sure to follow. Itâ€™s great to see a French movie that doesnâ€™t revolve around characters having discussion around a dinner table and ending in people getting divorced. And anything that Jeunet puts his hand on becomes magical gold! (even if there is no Audrey Tatou or Marion Cotillard in this one)
Here’s the trailer: