16 February 2010 | cliffhanley_
Exhilarating bag of tricks
By the director of Delicatessen and Amelie, this is closer to the earlier one. It's that mad jumble of images and daring camera-work again. And again it turns out to be a film quite unlike the one you were expecting. I'm sure someone has said this somewhere already, but it's worth repeating. I'm talking about Fellini on acid.
After an electrifying prologue in which our hero is orphaned, the screen explodes into a big-budget retro Hollywood opening and the story begins.
Almost right away our man Bazil, played by star of the French screen Danny Boon, is wounded by a stray bullet, losing his job after a long spell in hospital. He's saved from oblivion by a family of freaky misfits who live underground, surviving by rescuing the junk society throws out and giving it new life.
What Bazil really wants is to get his own back on the two arms manufacturers who messed up his life, and his new friends are the perfect mates for carrying out such a scheme. They include a human cannonball, a numbers genius, a circus contortionist and a robot inventor, and their plots are just as wacky as they are.
Talking of plots, the story, packed though it is with fantastic imagery as if it were a story about bad adults written by very clever children, races along regardless. The scene where Bazil gets shot is itself so much more than a simple zap with a bullet. It's a short film in itself, and the whole thing is full of chunks like that. It really is too much to eat at one sitting, and I would recommend a second look. You'll probably see me there, in the front row, my jaw in my lap.