Delicatessen (1991)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet deftly combines horror, sci-fi, and humor in Delicatessen, a morbid comedy set in a visually ravishing futuristic dystopia.

Movie Info

A post-apocalyptic future becomes the setting for pitch black humor in this visually intricate French comedy. The action takes place within a single apartment complex, which is owned by the same man that operates the downstairs butcher shop. It's a particularly popular place to live, thanks to the butcher's uncanny ability to find excellent cuts of meat despite the horrible living conditions outside. The newest building superintendent, a former circus clown, thinks he has found an ideal living situation. All that changes, however, when he discovers the true source of the butcher's meat, and that he may be the next main course. This dark tale is played out in a brilliantly designed, glorious surreal alternate world reminiscent of the works of director Terry Gilliam, who co-presented the film's American release. Like Gilliam, co-directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro hail from an animation background, and have a fondness for extravagant visuals, absurdist plot twists, and a sense of humor that combines sharp satire with broad slapstick and gross-out imagery. This mixture may displease the weak of stomach, but those attuned to the film's sensibility will be delighted by the obvious technical virtuosity and wicked sense of humor.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Lionsgate

Cast

Karin Viard
as Plusse
Rufus
as Robert
Ticky Holgado
as Husband
Edith Ker
as The Grandmother
Mickael Todde
as Lucien
Jacques Mathou
as Roger Kube
Jean-François Perrier
as Mr. Interligator
Sylvie Laguna
as Mrs. Interligator
Chick Ortega
as The Facteur
Jean-Luc Caron
as Janvier
Eric Averlant
as Tourneur
Jacque Mathou
as Roger Kube
Silvie Laguna
as Aurore Interligator
Robert Baud
as Voltange
Dominique Zardi
as The Taxi Driver
Pascal Benezech
as Mr. Houy
Anne Marie Pisani
as Madame Tapioca
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Delicatessen

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (11)

With its molelike inhabitants, its sprawling war between flesh-eaters and lentil-men, its achingly sweet love story and surrealist blend of dusty antiquities and 21st-century gizmos, Delicatessen is indescribably wild.

Full Review… | November 21, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

All of this is handled in a breezy, off-handed, nutsy manner, as the superb cast combines to help bring it off.

Full Review… | November 21, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Delicatessen is a fearsomely intense movie that mixes moods with formidable assurance.

Full Review… | November 21, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

With their detached, sardonic and decidedly sick slant, Jeunet and Caro have served up a burnt-to-a-crisp feast.

June 5, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

There are no characters to care about or remember afterward -- just a lot of flashy technique involving decor, some glib allegorical flourishes, and the obligatory studied film-school weirdness.

Full Review… | June 5, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A zany little film that's a startling and clever debut for co-helmers Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro.

Full Review… | June 5, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Delicatessen

A former clown lives in a tenement that features several quirky characters including a cannibalistic butcher. Super Reviewer Alice Shen contends that Jean-Pierre Jeunet had one good idea, Amelie. I disagree only because I love A Very Long Engagement and liked Micmacs, but her view that his work descends into a convoluted mess when he is unable to seamlessly entwine his characters and plotlines is well-taken in the case of Delicatessen. The underground army that plays a seminal role in the film's conclusion isn't introduced until the second act, and even then, I thought they were just passing through, on their way to another movie. The quirky "sex symphony" and the quirkier frog man weren't interesting or amusing; they were just Jeunet trying too hard. I also think that Dominque Pinon, winner of the Most Interesting-Looking Face award, is more suitable to supporting roles, where he can provide the perfect balance to the film's straight man, as he does in A Very Long Engagement. Overall, this is not Jeunet's best work, but it's better than most films about cannibalism.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

This is exactly like Brazil. That is to say, the movies look really really similar, in thier cluttered sets, quirky characters and post-apocalyptic yet casual world. I liked it as much as I liked Brazil. It was fun, kinda cool, but not really my cup of tea. It kind of bothered me the way it couldn't quite pick what genre it was supposed to be. I think it wanted to be a comedy.

Emily Armstrong
Emily Armstrong

Super Reviewer

05/01/2011 (DVD) Quite good! An unusual setting with unusual characters which made this an unusually good movie. It is a flick with deception as it seemed to be a friendly comedy, but it's really smothered with darkness! Strangely, there's romance and it's the cutest kind that lightens up the rather darkly theme, very enjoyable to sit through. It's funny which was weird for me cause its just so heavy with evilness, I was so concerned and yet I couldn't stop laughing. Its so playful and yet so evil, what a stir. Definitely a strange one for me but a very manageable sitting. I must say that I liked this a little more than "The City of Lost Children" but anyway it's probably not one for everybody, but it was a good watch for me. I do hope to find more like this, I'm enjoying the seriously weird and strange films that exist, sweet.

EightThirty .
EightThirty .

Super Reviewer

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