Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a bit like the Picasso of cinema, quirky, inventive, sweet, and slightly mad maybe? And his films are no exception, from stand out classics like ‘Amelie’ and ‘City of the lost Children’ to best forgotten forays into Hollywood ‘Alien Resurrection’ and even playing it straight for ‘A Very Long Engagement’. Thankfully you’ll be pleased to know that he has for ‘Micmacs’ returned to the style that first brought him to our attention. The story is a simple one, Bazil, played by Dany Boon is accidently shot in the head and sets out to seek revenge on the manufacturers of the bullet and along the way another manufacturer of the landmine that killed his father, the plan is to pit these two ammunition giants against each other. Of course as you’d expect from Jeunet there is a little more to it than that and after his accident and subsequent loss of flat and job Bazil is taking in by a mixed bunch of oddballs that live in a scrap yard. Each of them has some strange quirk, there’s elastic girl, strongman/inventor, maths girl etc it’s the Wombles meets the A-team and this group, although it’s never explained why, are now his willing helpers. Using all their combined skills the hapless bunch set about Bazil’s plan and after a slow start this is where the film starts to pick up. Shot in a style that could only be French Jeunet’s world is inhibited by traces of cinema past, like his circus gang collecting, fixing, inventing and using things they find, Jeunet collects old ideas from the classic to the forgotten and stitches them together to form his own bizarre vision. The colours are as vivid as his imagination and the story verves wildly from deadly serious to Jacques Tati laugh out loud and it can be a dizzying experience. The story isn’t his strongest but the cast, music and overall atmosphere are brilliant. The only downside is that the film feels, for all its inventiveness, a little flat. It feels chopped and has one too many loose ends that maybe a directors cut will in time solve but for now just revel in the magic that, when at his best, puts Jeunet up alongside the Gilliam’s and Burton’s of this world.

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