If he were judged solely by the first five minutes of his films, Jean-Pierre Jeunet would rank among the world’s top filmmakers. Unfortunately, the remaining 100 minutes or so place him among the most overrated.
True to form, Micmacs opens with a piquantly witty near-wordless prologue that outlines the life and character of its protagonist, Bazil (Dany Boon), starting with his soldier father getting blown up by a landmine in 1979 and ending with Bazil himself, years later, getting a stray bullet in the head during a shootout. Thereafter, Jeunet abandons all cinematic ingenuity as Bazil is adopted by a “family” of trash pickers whom he enlists in a listless Yojimbo-like scheme to seek vengeance against the two arms manufacturers responsible for his father’s death and his own injuries.
From time to time, Micmacs invokes great silent comics like Chaplin, Keaton, and Tati, but that only underscores how clumsy the film is in the context of their genius — or for that matter, its own inspired opening five minutes.