Placard: Salvaged Gear!
A funny thing happened. A few weeks ago I watched Yojimbo, the Kurosawa film about a samurai playing two rival gangs against each other. In this film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the lead character does a similar thing, playing two different people, who have effected his life for the worse, against each other. I think this is neat to point out, because it's somewhat of a peculiar coincidence, which is what most of Jeunet's films are based around anyway.
In this film, Dany Boon stars as Bazil. As a boy, his father was killed by a landmine. Years later, Bazil was working in a video store, only to observe a shooting that resulted in a bullet lodged in his head. While Bazil managed to survive, he unfortunately lost both his home and his job. With nowhere left to go, Bazil is adopted by a crew of unique people living in a junk yard, where they make a fine enough living for themselves. These people includes a contortionist, a human cannonball, an inventor, a master thief, and a human calculator, among others.
While Bazil may have some problems in his life, he does have a plan. The sources of both the death of his father and the bullet in his head are two weapons manufacturers that happen to have large buildings in France right across the street from each other. The two men who run these businesses are bitter rivals; and with the help of Bazil and his friends, there may be an end in sight for this rivalry.
Director Jeunet, who previously made Amelie, The City of Lost Children, and A Very Long Engagement, once again manages to show off his trademark visual senses. The way he uses effects is always a treat. A lot of great world creation is going on here and it all blends well with the quirky nature of the story and characters. Having things like a contortionist and a human cannonball all work there way into having neat payoffs; and it is all made better by wonderful cinematography.
The story manages to be a lot of fun. As I've said, it takes an old plot seen a few times in different films and treats it with a neat freshness, especially in the way it develops the villains and adds in the heist film aspect, as our heroes work to sabotage them.
The one fault I feel this film has, comes in the form of Bazil. While he is certainly endearing and we'd like to see him succeed, there is never much of a character developed for him, especially given that everyone around him is much more interesting.
Still, the lesser aspects hardly pulled me out of the film, as the freshness portrayed here makes much of this film more worthwhile. Its a lot of fun, full of imagination, greatly made, and wonderful to look at.
Bazil: Mom always told me to avoid twisted girls.