Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(France, 2010)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is one of my favorite directors. His record is damn near perfect, with Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, A Very Long Engagement, and most of all, Amélie on his rather short list of films. (Let’s forget all about Alien: Resurrection, which was obviously done for the paycheck.) His films are absurdist in a delightful way. They concern people caught in the randomness of the universe, and showcase all sorts of Rube Goldberg machines and concatenations of events, such that in one film one falling teardrop sets off a chain of consequences that eventually causes a huge ship to crash into the docks. But his people persevere, and triumph in large and small ways. Here, a man whose father was killed by a land mine and who was himself disabled by a bullet to the head—a wound incurred through one of those chains of awful coincidence Jeunet is so good at—decides to take his vengeance on two arms manufacturers, one that makes bullets and one that makes land mines. He is abetted by quirky characters who live in a junk pile and make plans so supremely arcane and complicated and unlikely to work that it is a delight when they do work, and the mighty are brought low. Very funny, but at base, a very angry film, as it should be.