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18th October 2009

Funny, Cooky With A Touch Of Magic

I’ve had this film a while yet never actually got around to watching it, I don’t really know why, I just kept putting it off. I have to say, more fool me as it is nothing short of genius.

This French movie is quirky and laugh out loud funny in that special way only the French seem to be able to do at times.

The movie centres around Bazil (Danny Boon) who, via a freak accident, ends up with a bullet lodged in his head.

From that he ends up homeless and jobless and eventually falls in with a band of ‘misfits’, though the title, which was originally Micmacs à tire-larigot, actually translates as non-stop shenanigans. It’s very apt.

The movie is a ‘satire on the world trade arms’ according to director Jean-Pierre Jeanut with some dialogue actually taken directly from interviews Jeanut conducted whilst researching for the movie.

While I was watching this, in between laughing, I remember distinctly thinking it felt very much like Amelia…there’s a reason for that, Jeanut was also the man behind that film.

That’s not in any way shape or form a bad thing, Amelia is a fantastic film and Micmacs is very much in the same vein. It’s quirky, cooky and just very cleverly done.

There’s eight in the band each with his or her own skill, from Calculette who is good with numbers, to La Môme Caoutchouc who is a contortionist, and the love interest.

Each member of the team gets to apply their skills as Bazil goes about setting up two rival arms dealers, one of whom manufactured the bullet in his head, the other manufactured the mine that kills his father at the start of the movie.

If I had to pick an issue with the movie it would be that the effect that is applied throughout it, there’s a sort of orangey hue over the entire movie like an aged effect, isn’t necessary. In fact there are times when you think that the movie should be allowed to dance and sparkle in vibrant colours but it doesn’t get the chance to.

Having said that, I’m just off to buy it. My list of top directors and writers is fast being filled by Frenchman…

I’ve seen a lot of reviews of this movie that accuse Jean-Pierre Jeanut of racial stereo-typing or (as was the accusation aimed at Amelia) not featuring any ethnic minorities at all. All I would say to that is: have you not seen Friends? Set in Manhattan and throughout shows next to no ethnic minorities at all? Come on people. If you didn’t like the film just say so, don’t accuse a director of racism and jump on a bandwagon!

This French movie is quirky and laugh out loud funny in that special way only the French seem to be able to do at times.

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