Page 1 of 3
Sony / 104 Minutes / 2009 / Unrated / Street Date: December 14, 2010
With Micmacs, Jean-Pierre Jeunet has abandoned the grand, epic palette of A Very Long Engagement and returned decidedly and unavoidably to the more petite confines of an Amelie-esque narrative universe. In Engagement, the director - as stunning as his visual prowess was in certain sequences - seemed out of his league, attempting to lasso a story and a sweeping dramatic arc that appeared to most viewers to be just outside his grasp.
Things are so low to the ground in Micmacs, though, that he has no trouble keeping things in line. This tale of a guy named Bazil (Dany Boon) who gets hit by a stray bullet, then decides to find the owners of the bullet company and make them pay for their user error is loud and rowdy, but never out of control.
With his whimsical imagery and locomotive pace - if anything, Micmacs never moves slowly enough to be dull - Jeunet infuses this latest opus of his with all the knick-knacks that made Amelie such an endearing hit.
But Dany Boon and company are no Audrey Tautou, and without an infinitely empathetic human protagonist at the center of Jeunet's narrative universe, Micmacs spirals off into tangent quickly and never returns. There's a mercurial edge to Jeunet at his best that makes many of his films bubbly and mysterious in their kinetic push, but in Micmacs, the effervescence doesn't stick around for very long: With this urban romp, it doesn't so much seem like Jeunet has returned to popular form - it feels like he's treading water.