Trisha’s Take: Micmacs à tire-larigot review

Micmacs à tire-larigot (aka Non-stop madness)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring Dany Boon, André Dussollier, Nicolas Marié, Julie Ferrier, and more
Rated R for some sexuality and brief violence

When I was in the eighth grade, I was given the chance to either take a first year of Spanish at my school or to take a first year in French at the high school across the street from where I lived and where I’d eventually attend.

Impractical youngster that I was in Southern California, I chose French and for five years I was one of the more fluent speakers in my class, going as far as to win the silver medal my senior year of high school at French camp. Those classes were where I first saw or heard of classic French films like Jean de Florette, Le retour de Martin Guerre, and Au revoir les enfants (which apparently was an inspiration for Reservoir Dogs), and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Yes, even Les compères.

Alas, my ear for the language has diminished, but that still doesn’t mean that I’m not about to turn down the chance to see a movie by perhaps one of France’s great directors of the modern era.

Even before it made its debut at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, Micmacs à tire-larigot was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for a U.S. release, and it’s no small wonder why.

Just as in director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s first major hit Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, whimsy abounds in Micmacs in the form of a motley crew of homeless misfits who are tasked by the main character Bazil (played by Dany Boon) to help him seek his justice upon the arms dealers who were responsible for the death of his father and who supplied the bullet which lodged in his brain during a drive-by gone wrong where he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

That there’s a lot of grim scenes depicting the actual shooting or the fact that the first five minutes of the movie start with watching Bazil’s father accidentally trigger a landmine he was tasked to clear could be perhaps a continuation of the themes in A Very Long Engagement.

And yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about “Leverage” while watching this movie because what unfolds after we meet the happy band of misfits (including such heavy-weight French and French-speaking actors as Jean-Pierre Marielle, Yolande Moreau, and long-time Jeunet-collaborator Dominique Pinon) is a series of heists featuring cobbled-together tools and a female contortionist.

Of course, each misfit has a quirky note about them that gives them their “speciality” and makes them integral to the smooth workings of the plans. Of course something goes wrong, and the crew has to work together to get Boon back once he’s been captured by the bad guys (who are played with such scene-eating relish by André Dussollier and Nicolas Marié that I feared there wouldn’t be a set left by the end of the movie).

If you’re looking for deep insights into why war exists, you’re not going to find them here. In fact, the movie could almost be a rejection of war, war-mongering, and the industries that help perpetuate the cycles of violence–but that’s just me trying to reach for a deeper meaning in a movie that really doesn’t need one.

I enjoyed every performance greatly, especially lead actor Boon’s. He portrayed well Bazil’s pride upon learning that he’s lost his job and apartment after being in the hospital for so long after the shooting, and I loved watching the bits where he had to do any bit of pantomime. I’ll admit that just like Bazil, I was flummoxed when Julie Ferrier’s tirade came out of the blue, but I don’t think that’s a function of her being a poor actor but perhaps a function of there not being enough room in the script to show her character’s changing feelings towards him.

In short, if you’re looking for a good, satisfying, and fun heist/revenge movie, you should definitely find Micmacs at your local theater.

Micmacs is going into limited release in the U.S. on May 28, but if you’re really that anxious, you could import the R2 DVD and contribute to the French GDP at the same time!

Posted on May 14, 2010 at 08:08 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: Columns, Movies, Reviews · Tagged with: , , , ,

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  1. Written by arkonbey
    on 2010-05-17 at 17:05

    ohhhhh, I've been looking forward to a Jeunet film since AVLE.

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