7 April 2010 | jburtroald95
A sumptuous treat for everyone, proving just as effective across the language barriers
The unfortunate well-meaning Frenchman Bazil (Dany Boon) finds himself wishing ill upon wealthy industrialists Nicholas Thibault de Fenouillet (André Doussillier) and Francois Marconi (Nicolas Marié), the heads of two corrupt artillery corporations, who are responsible for both the tragic death of his father when Bazil was a boy, and the silver bullet lodged in his head and set to explode at any moment. Assisted by an abnormally-skilled gang of other military victims, Bazil endeavours to bring down the two perpetrators and strike a damaging blow at the entire industry.
The aforementioned plot could potentially deliver a grim and bloodthirsty heist thriller, but French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has other intentions. The opening scene in which the little boy Bazil (here played by the young Noé Boon) witnesses his father being blown to pieces amongst the familiar scenery of sandy deserts and Arab costumes, and the following event of Bazil being accidentally shot in the head by a rogue army officer, carry some suspense and sorrow. These serve as a succinct and sufficiently grave acknowledgement of the atrocities of terrorism, yet thankfully Jeunet has the intelligence and frivolity to drop the solemnity at this point, avoiding overstatement of the point and unleashing riches of wonderfully liberating and delightfully unpretentious entertainment.
Bazil's accomplices, or rather, kind and caring companions, are an extremely lovable and splendidly colourful bunch of very uncomplicated characters. Living in a cosy makeshift home, they support each other using their special talents, which range from the remarkable innovation of an expert inventor (a charming Michel Crémadès) to the incredible flexibility of a charismatic contortionist (Julie Ferrier's infectious spunk matches perfectly with Dany Boon's priceless quirks). Their plans to foil the two villains are extremely creative and utterly unexpected, providing most of the film's subtle and beautifully simplistic humour.
Although the film's simplicity does comes at a cost, dragging it far away from Oscar-worthy greatness. It also results in a slight lag in the middle, where its lack of depth truly takes its toll after the initial burst of exuberance momentarily ceases to resonate. However, this barren stretch of reel precedes and is redeemed by the ultimate serving of ingenious wit and hilarity.
All in all a sumptuous treat for everyone, proving just as effective across the language barriers.