Micmacs (2009, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

Jeunet has made his brownest film since Delicatessen. Surely City of Lost Children and A Very Long Engagement were very brown indeed, but this one wins the brownness prize of the decade. I was very pleased with this overall – nevermind the haters, it’s more mad Jeunet fun, junkyard contraptions and insane plot contrivances help one obsessed individual win out, yay. Until the minute after it ended… then the whole thing felt kind of empty. I guess Dany Boom (My Best Friend, The Valet) had a valid reason for going after the two big arms companies in town (run by Nicolas Marié, who I’ll only recognize again if he wears those same glasses, and the great André Dussollier of Coeurs and Wild Grass) and I guess the junkyard denizens can help him out, because that’s the sort of thing that happens in movies, and I suppose he sort of succeeds (one CEO goes to jail and the other disappears). But it feels like all the thought went into the mechanisms and mannerisms, and not enough was put into the big picture. If I sound like a cranky newspaper critic, so be it – I felt like one. Maybe it’ll improve on repeat viewing – Engagement did.

More cast. Marie-Julie Baup plays Calculator, a diminutive, bespectacled number cruncher who reminds of the female lead in Delicatessen (and in case you weren’t thinking of Delicatessen, Jeunet drops a non-sequitur reference to that film in the middle of a spy sequence, just like he drops references via highway billboard to Micmacs itself). Michel Crémadès is a junk artist with a smiling, elfin face that seems like it should have appeared in Jeunet movies past, yet somehow hasn’t. Dominique Pinon gets to be his merry self. Omar Sy has a thing for turns-of-phrase sayings that doesn’t really translate (or just isn’t funny, don’t know which). Then you got cutie contortionist Julie Ferrier and parental figures Jean-Pierre Marielle (Coup de torchon, The Da Vinci Code) and chef Yolande Moreau (Amelie, Vagabond).