Film, Comedy
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Gathering his marbles (and any other weather-damaged, spring-loaded knick-knacks that may be in the vicinity) after the sepia-hued slushfest of ‘A Very Long Engagement’ (2004), France’s master craftsman, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, returns with a comic potshot at the arms industry that makes for a hearty, if modest, return to form.

Firmly cleaving to his instantly distinguishable ersatz style in which cogs, pulleys and levers are tossed at the screen whenever possible, his story follows a band of oddballs as they administer a convoluted course of revenge on the tyrannical directors  (Nicolas Marié and André Dussollier) of two rival weapons manufacturers. The catalyst for all this is the plight of body-popping video-store assistant Bazil (Dany Boon), whose father, we learn, is killed by a French-made landmine. To add injury to insult, Bazil is caught in the crossfire of a gun battle and gets a locally produced bullet lodged in his brain.

While it’s admirable that Jeunet has attempted to channel the mirth into a serious, unequivocally political statement, he does little to allow us to take his gestures seriously: it’s as if, say, Jacques Tati had chosen to make a film about the Rwandan genocide and insisted on keeping the silly hat. The point at which we’re supposed to see the funny side of extraordinary rendition is the glib gibe that pushes it over the edge. Yet, the film has its pleasures, namely the  nimble, assured camera work and a script (written with regular Jeunet collaborator Guillaume Laurant) that constantly evokes the droll spirit of his hero, Jacques Prévert.

By: David Jenkins



Release details

Release date:
Friday February 26 2010
102 mins

Cast and crew

Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Dany Boon
André Dussollier
Jean-Pierre Marielle
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