It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Here's a movie with visual invention and imagination up the wazoo. “Micmacs” is a whimsical fantasy about how a weapons manufacturer is set upon by a man with a bullet in his head and a motley crew of weirdos who live in a cave inside a junkyard. It may be a little too much for one meal.
I say this with reluctance, because this kind of visual energy is rarely found in the movies. I should be grateful for the change after several recent films in which the camera freezes in its tracks and stares stupefied at the action. I suppose I am. But the invention upstages the story without seeming necessary to it.
The director is Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Recall his magical “Amelie” (2001) and “A Very Long Engagement” (2004), and you'll understand its fancies. Recall his “City Of Lost Children” (1995), and you'll understand its problems. In an age when special effects can show us almost anything, there can come a tipping point when a movie is essentially only showing off. I'm not flatly against that, but in general, I like to delude myself that the story is in the foreground. It's a judgment call. You may enjoy “Micmacs” more than I did.
The story is about a sad-sack video store clerk named Bazil (Dany Boon). His father was killed by a land mine. As a child, opening a box of his father's effects, he finds the trademark of the land mine's manufacturer. Bazil grows up into a feckless young man who passes his time in the video store by reciting the dialogue of movies in sync with the playback. One day, after a series of shall we say improbable events, he's shot in the forehead. The doc flips a coin and decides to leave in the bullet (which was made by the same manufacturer as the land mine), even though Bazil could die at any moment.