Saturday, July 31, 2010

I've Liked You For A Thousand Years. I Can't Wait Until I See You.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Wright, 2010)

In the past few years the Hollywood interest in comic book films has continued to crescendo with huge critical and financial successes such as the Spiderman, Iron Man, and Batman franchises. Aside from being overly saturated by testosterone, such hits have lined summers with blockbuster after blockbuster by sticking to a generic story telling structure of origin stories and world threatening conflict to provide enough action to coerce the adrenaline to come out and frolic. But top tier names are only so plentiful, so the surge in comic book popularity led to various graphic novels getting translations to the silver screen in the form of Watchmen, Sin City, and most recently Kick-Ass. These films focus heavily on action, but the visual flourishes in these films are much more prominent and distinctly separate them form the larger hyped films. So when a director whose claim to fame is his astounding ability to deftly blend genres tackles a film that asks him to combine the entertainment of high action sequences with the charm of a niche graphic novel when I reach a killscreen am I going to want to press continue?

Edgar Wright's follow up to Hot Fuzz details the life of titular protagonist Scott Pilgrim as he literally fights for the love of Ramona Flowers whilst seeking success with his band Sex Bob-Omb. So, naturally, the film is an action film, correct? Well, not exactly. Edgar Wright makes comedies, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is stuffed to the brim with more big laughs and subtle touches than I have had the pleasure of seeing since Superbad. But the film, it's certainly not a comedy, as the central relationship is far too much of a driving force. So essentially Scott Pilgrim is a video game meets a graphic novel makes love to a comedy spawns a romance and genetically engineers an action film, donning a musical thong. So I can naturally expect this film to have tonal inconsistencies, but Wright avoids this incredibly common pitfall by keeping the film moving at such a rapid pace, and really packing each and every frame with such a completely realized vision that it never has time to stray from the mood set from the opening Universal logo.

What I notice in this film, and even in Wright's former films, is exactly how much care is placed in every shot. Each use of pixelation, each blur, every censor, all the logos and the outfits, they all establish the world so perfectly. The visual aesthetic works wonderfully with the editing and other visual flairs of the film which include segments that play out at graphic novels and other forms of visual media. But what stands out the most on a visual level is the jaw dropping fight sequences. Each one plays out so differently and allows Wright to showcase a range of film making techniques and styles that synthesize action with comedy and even with music when the script calls for more flashy fights. The more time I have to sit with these sequences and really consider how visually intensive the scenes are, while still maintaining a delightfully charming low budget look.

And of course there's the soundtrack. Anchored by Beck and Broken Social Scene serving a stand ins for Sex Bob-Omb and Crash and the Boys, respectively, the variety of sounds are an absolute delight while still feeling natural and unforced in the context of the film. But not only do the songs serve the overall tone of the film, they also enhance the action, and they enhance the comedy. Rarely have songs ever felt so integrally tied to a film that is not a musical. I suppose the easy comparison to make is to the score in I Am Love, despite the shift in intensity and purpose, the film is elevated incredibly by the use of a very specific type of music employed in a simply masterful manner. But even above the soundtrack is the film's score, a string of wonderful compositions littered with signature video game sounds that play lightly in the background of many scenes. These effect creates such a wonderfully engulfing mood that I found myself completely sucked in every moment of this ride.

However, despite my gushing so far the film is certainly not without its flaws. While the film runs at a neat, and incredibly quick, two hours, I did get the feeling that a complete story is not entirely present. Now I am aware that the film is based on pre-existing source material, so I was able to fill in a few of the holes, but even with this background knowledge I did not find myself incredibly invested in all of the plot lines. Wright juggles so many characters that I was not surprised to see some catch the short end of the stick, but the Kim character is treated as such a removed character that one of the emotional pay offs does not work much at all. Perhaps having her not be important is meant to show the distance between her and Scott though, which does add up but still does not make the plot nearly as satisfying as many of the other threads running throughout the film. The movie needs room to breathe, to completely bring life to all of these characters, and to better reinforce the intensity of the central romance. These aspects are not the strongest, but one of the strengths in O'Malley's series of graphic novels is in the ability to insert quietly beautiful meditations on love amidst the action, and the film does capture the occasionally sickeningly, yet always infectious, feelings of human connection near perfectly.

Another aspect of the comic that is captured in the film, and can stand alone without reading any of the graphic novels, is the character of Scott Pilgrim. Scott is meant to be sympathetic, but we are also asked to realize that Scott is both ignorant to the world around him and as a result kind of a self centered dick. Cera brings this sense to the character wonderfully, combined of course with Wright's inventive way of conveying to the audience how exactly Scott's mind if working. As a viewer I do not always condone Scott's actions, but I can understand them, and the commentary on the illogical human mind is wonderfully woven in to the film, as well as the idea of a society that promotes such behavior. Of course these qualities all rely on the right type of delivery and Michael Cera further cements his status as the best comedic actor of all time by perfectly delivering Scott's lines and conveying his disconnect with his environment. For much of the film Cera does stick with his comfort zone, and the film does really benefit from him doing so, but he does also have big scenes in the action sequences and he further proves his ability to be legitimate 'actor,' depending on one's definition of the art form. Scott is not the drastic change that the Dillinger character is in Youth in Revolt, but not only is he in top form in this film, his ability to work with the fight choreography, both on the ass kicking and ass kicked ends, is simply stunning and further sells what are likely the most enjoyable action sequences I have ever seen.

The film's diverse cast also boasts a ton of other talented actors, but the one that practically steals the show is Kieran Culkin. He impressed me in Lymelife, though I was certainly not prepared for simply how excellent he would be in the role of Wallace Wells, Scott's roommate. He floats through scenes with such poise and precision, delivering his dialogue with such sincerity and charm. His performance is truly a sight to behold. Jason Schwartzman is also excellent doing Jason Schwartzman, and actually all members of the League of Evil Exes play their character uniquely and wonderfully. A few of the secondary character in particular were a huge hit with my audience as well. The females in the film are enjoyable as well, but very few are given very much to do. I wish that more time could have been spent with Envy Adams, not only because Brie Larson is mighty pretty but also because her The Clash at Demonhead performance is one of the best tracks in the film, and the sequence between her and Scott has the potential to be even more emotionally resonant. The stand out of the females is found in the form of Ellen Wong as Knives Chau, a heartbreakingly impressionable Scott super fan girl who exists as a wonderfully satirical spin on Caucasian perspective. Many of the supporting characters play one note roles, but each and every one plays that note pitch perfect.

Coming out of the film I was unsure of exactly how much value I found in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but as I started writing about the film I not only learned that I enjoyed the film far more than I had initially imagined (and I am certainly looking forward to seeing it again upon its theatrical release) but the film is also considerably more admirable than I had considered. The startlingly inventive construction and editing are enough to make Wright's latest film a truly uniquely enjoyable experience, but the film's ability to capture such raw moments of beauty in a minefield of laughs cements Wright's status as one of my favorite filmmakers, despite the abysmal Shaun of the Dead, and - finally - left me completely satisfied after seeing a much as the label is applicable. At its worst Scott Pilgrim is a masterclass of filmmaking, but this film exists, on practically every level, as a film constructed for me to love. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is imaginative, inventive, and a film that truly exists as a representation of the time in which it spawned while still holding enough timeless qualities to make it one of the year's finest.

Comments are encouraged and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blog filled with all original works for your reading pleasure.

Also I am on the old Twitter thing so I guess you can follow me at

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

But It Grieves My Heart, Love, To See You Tryin' To Be A Part Of A World That Just Don't Exist

Ramona and Beezus (Allen, 2010)

In our world technology moves at a break neck pace, you practically buy the latest gadget and the device has already been outclassed by the next technology on the horizon. I turn on the news and hear the horrors of the world, I see the Datelines, the rehabs, the violence, the predators, and the beaters. So amidst all these horrors is it possible to find solace in a film that acts as a pure artifice, in a world that technology and horror has seemingly left in the past, the America of yesteryear, an America that perhaps has always been idealized but has never purely existed? Standing on the outskirts of these horrors is Ramona and Beezus, a little light of hope, a town where trouble exists, but is veiled by the wonder. I have little knowledge of the source material which has spawned the latest G Rated family film, yet even without this affinity I found it near impossible not to be captivated by this film's charm.

Detailing the journey of titular protagonist Ramona Quimby as she struggles to come to terms with her existence on Klickitat Street. While she confronts standard conflicts such as fitting in at school and dealing with a home life where she also stands out from her seemingly perfect sister, the film adds a compelling layer by having Ramona cope with the loss of loved ones, feelings of isolation, and the conflict of a completely changing home environment. And in this layer is a beautiful sincerity and respect for the audience, regardless of age, that is not afraid to explore the darker side of childhood and stray from the beautiful hand made day-dream sequences for incredibly effective dramatic segments.

These aspects create such a wonderful tone throughout much of the film, and the central performance from Joey King goes a long way in selling these scenes, but it helps that she is surrounding by a surprisingly talented cast. The actors who play the adults in the film all do believable jobs of handling their lines, and as the film continued on I found myself taken by the turn that John Corbett makes as the father; however, the stand out of the adults has to be the repentant egotist Hobart, played by Josh Duhamell. And then, of course, there is the most recognizable face in the film, Selena Gomez portraying the eldest girl in the core family, Beatrice "Beezus" Quimby. Selena possesses such a glowing and infection charm that it seems near impossible not to be taken by her acting, but despite her character being mostly irrelevant considering she is a titular character Selena's big scenes show an impressive range that she has demonstrated before, but not in such a concentrated capacity. One scene has Beezus walking home with her childhood friend Henry, and Selena turns in such an impressive performance in this specific scene that she appears to be set for much future success. King gives the better performance overall, though a good amount of that has to do with the character's role in the film and Selena's wise choice to play Beezus as human rather than an over the top vehicle to showcase her range.

But underlining all of the performances, the conflict, and even the wonder is the portrayal of an idealized America. What struck me while watching the film was the relative absence of technology, especially in relation to one incredibly contemporary problem that plays a large part in the story. This absence creates such a tension in the film by juxtaposing timeless aspects of the narrative and world with the contemporary concerns. And the more I consider the film I also notice an incredible absence of ethnicity, so much so that the only trace of African Americans came in the background in the final scene, and Sandra Oh, but even her role is minimal. Selena is even asked to pass as white. These aspects, perhaps even more than the ideas the film concerns itself with, offer a fascinating look at the Hollywood presentation of the ideal America, one that proves as uncomfortable as appealing. The simplicity of life, the wholesome concerns, and the importance of human bonding is all appealing and beautiful, but much like the wonder and charm in the films plot, a disturbing and dark side lurks underneath the surface.

Still, Ramona and Beezus does offer a celebration of nostalgia that, at the very least, constantly entertains and, at its best, proves to be enlightening. An America that has passed displayed in a genre of film that has apparently been all but forgotten in the wake of CGI extravaganzas and 3-D opuses. The film can likely be faulted for less than stellar comedy, but the film never seems incredibly concerned with generating laughs, just chuckles, the chief concern is the characters and the plot, letting these aspect develop naturally, and in that regard it succeeds. Ramona and Beezus is not a great film, perhaps it may even be mediocre, but is does offer a cinematic gust of fresh air that has only sat better and better with me since leaving the theater.

Comments are encouraged and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blog filled with all original works for your reading pleasure.

Also I am on the old Twitter thing so I guess you can follow me at

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Try This Trick And Spin It, Yeah, Your Head Will Collapse When There's Nothing In It

Inception (Nolan, 2010)

At some point in time every person sleeps, and at some point we all dream, but in this universal trait of humanity do we ever truly experience this sensation with any sort of uniformity? Is this uniformity even necessary in such a personal experience? What happens if our personal experiences, all of our repression, hopes, desires, and fears are not only open for others to witness but to directly manipulate to the point where we do not know if the process is even personal anymore? But, above all else, when we peel back all the layers of our dreams are we left with the purest essence of our thoughts or behind all the twists and turns - the layers and the puzzles - do we find a nothingness? Christopher Nolan's Inception literally delves into the dream world and starts working out these puzzles, taking us along for the ride as we hope to discover something, or rather anything, at the center.

Running throughout the film the script presents two recurring ideas: ideas can act as a cancer that grow and consume us, setting the stage for the titular act to take place, and dreams are elaborately constructed puzzles in which we willingly or unwillingly lose ourselves. And the entire film follows these ideas to their logical conclusions, adding in parlor tricks to cause the audience to further explore the puzzle in hopes of finding the definitive solution. Yet if we - as DiCaprio's Cobb does in the film - become too focused on this mystery, losing sight of the other elements that make up the film. And for much of the film Nolan's use of action and flash make for interesting spectacle to distract from the lack of substance behind the style.

But for each Joseph Gordon Levitt floating through layer two we also have Cobb explaining the previously unmentioned concept of Limbo, and then having Hardy and Levitt talk about it a few minutes later, and then Page doing so near the end of the film. The film is so loaded with exposition that the world and story have about as much breathing room as a man dangling from a noose constructed from the labyrinth the film displays.

And the deeper I venture into this maze I am able to find a few more conclusions, brief glimpses of answer and satisfaction amidst the entire transformation of cities and case scenes, but the farther in I go the more this creeping notion at the back of my mind becomes more and more prevalent: I am not watching people. By the end of the film we are, quite intentionally, left wondering just how much of the film is reality and how much is fabrication, but in this wonder compassion is absent no matter what conclusion is reached. I can understand the need to purposefully make many of the secondary characters two dimensional in order to make one specific interpretation work, but even if I overlook the lack of humanity on display from any of the secondary players then I should be able to feel incredible compassion, or at least understand the motivation, for Cobb.

Unfortunately Cobb is written in such a way that makes him neither sympathetic nor interesting, despite DiCaprio's best efforts to bring a level of humanity to the character. Cobb needs to get back to his children, to reconcile his past, by any means necessary, but we are never meant to know how honest he is in any of his actions (past, present, or future) until the film's conclusion, and for a specific interpretation to work even then we cannot be completely sure of what motivates the character.

Which reveals the film's most notable flaws. Nolan constructs a film that is so concerned with working as a maze that he fails to present any sort of overarching theme that ties the entire film together. Because the ending poses a very simple dualistic question to the viewer I am led to believe that the film is concerned with the nature of reality and perception, but even when considering if it connections to the meaning of perception the film does not necessarily relate it to any greater purpose. The film strives so hard to be a puzzle, to plant ideas in the viewer's head, that at some point each viewer is going to reach a satisfying conclusion, and then the film stops. I am not sure if I am finished with this film, if I have reached a comfortable conclusion, but I know that if I see it another time, or a few more times, eventually I will reach a point where I will have gotten to the end of the maze.

When I watch a film, when I enjoy a film, I am hooked by the theme, the promise that no matter how much I watch it I will continue to learn more about myself and my place to the world, that even when I reach a conclusion in a year, five years, fifty years I should be able to take what I have learned and discover more from the text. When I call a film, or any work of art, great I do so because it reveals a part of humanity, the film can never end. With Inception a promise of finality exists, found each time Cobb or one of his cronies gave a monologue explaining the intricacies of the world, or the repetition of these same rules time and time again in the film, in the most simplistic manner imaginable. Not only did I feel unfulfilled walking out of the theater, but as I draw closer to the end of the puzzle my sense of completeness will only lessen, and that thought depresses me.

Depressed. Unfulfilled. Hollow. Ultimately meaningless. These are the conclusions that I found in Inception; when the layers of dreams are peeled away, when the smoke has faded, when the mirrors have broken, the core of the film attempts to stand naked and nothing more than a shell remains. I have other problems with the film as well, such as an inconsistent use of shaky-cam mixed with fixed and quick cuts, and an imposing score that acts far too obviously and overtly in every scene. Yet the film has its share of positives including a phenomenal performance from Tom Hardy and some immensely intricate and engaging action sequences. But positives and negatives not only break down along with the film, they seem meaningless in comparison to the lack of any shred of humanity, any real theme or purpose. Like our dreams Inception is an escape that occasionally proves to be exciting and compelling, but eventually we are going to hit a kick, bringing back all the stark, harshly depressing realities.

Comments are encouraged and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blog filled with all original works for your reading pleasure.

Also I am on the old Twitter thing so I guess you can follow me at

Monday, July 12, 2010

When You Punish A Child For Dreaming His Dream Don't Expect Him To Thank Or Forgive You

Cyrus (Duplass and Duplass, 2010)

In the past couple of years there seems to be one runaway indie comedy that is usually distributed by Fox Searchlight that reaches an unexpected amount of people and is met with surprise financial success. The most notable of these films are Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, both comedies that attempt to combine dramatic elements and complex characters to create genre hybrids offering more meat than the average romantic comedies that inundate theaters on a near weekly basis. In many ways Cyrus follows in the footsteps of these films, but unlike the other Searchlight features the new film from the Duplass Brothers seeks to bring an entirely new genre, mumblecore, to the masses. As a result the two have crafted one of the most interesting cinematic experiments in recent memory, creating a blend the likes of which your local coffee shop can only dream of concocting.

Cyrus takes so many conventions and places them directly at odds with the audience's expectations throughout the film, and from this aspect a portion of the film's genius is found. While I am no expert of mumblecore as a genre, of the films I have seen it appears that certain conventions of that genre are a heavily improvised script, generally lower key actors, and minimal camerawork to create a more 'realistic' film. So how do you do this when you have the queens of the indie scene, Catherine Keener and Marisa Tomei, Seth Rogen 2.0, Jonah Hill, and dramatist turned Tim and Eric vet, John C. Reily, headlining your film? Well you coax a magical performance from each and every one of these actors. In each performance is a brutally honest depiction of humanity, the complexities of love and the need for security. Stripped down to their basic elements we have a man seeking a major change clashing with an individual attempting to hold on not only to a life of security, but hoping to avoid being completely alone in the world around him. What Hill does with the Cyrus character is absolutely breathtaking, but not only is his turn completely stunning, the Duplass brothers have crafted such a wonderful character that he really deserves much more inspection.

The name Cyrus is, in many ways, completely fitting in regard to the film's themes and the character. While the source is questionable, the entomology section of the Wikipedia article states that the name means either "to bestow care" or "humiliator of the enemy in verbal contest," two traits completely attributed to the titular character. He has a need for nurture, and the film establishes his relationship with his mother as being the only fulfilling one in his life, so Cyrus's decision to act out against John is understandable. The stakes are so intense, but because Reily serves as the film's main character we are asked to also sympathize with him, and the character is incredibly easy to sympathize with throughout the film. At the very start of the film a party occurs, and the energy captured during this scene is so intense and well constructed that it absolutely gravitates throughout the rest of the film. This energy, paired with the sympathy that Cyrus does generate for himself, provides a beautifully engaging central conflict.

The construction of the film is also incredibly important when looking at Cyrus as well because the camerawork also plays against so many conventions. The most distinguishing trait of the film is the abundant use of zooms, giving the viewer a more intimate look at these characters, but even above that the zooms act as a way to work with the tension created between all the different aspects of convention playing against one another. The movie is a comedy as much as it is a drama, and because of the type of comedy, a much quieter and serious style, an underlying melancholy is found in the words, which generates an uneasiness throughout the film. The zooms don't allow the viewer much time to breathe or gain a sense of security, not only giving a layer of direct sympathy to our connection with Cyrus's grasp to hold on to what is comfortable at any cost, but also to heighten the uneasiness in each individual scene.

Cyrus is a film that finds complexity in its simplicity, but also does not allow the narrative to carry all the weight. The construction of the film, each zoom, each shot, each quietly creepy look from Hill, they all work simultaneously to enhance both the tone and themes. The film constantly builds to an ultimate clash of enormous forces until it crescendos beautifully as we see ideologies lashing out against each other. And I was left staggering back to my car after the credits started to flash by, and then I broke down in tears, and while I had a feeling during the film, after having a chance to mull it over more and see how perfectly all the elements work together, I knew Cyrus was not only a great film, but one of the year's best.

Comments are encouraged and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blog filled with all original works for your reading pleasure.

Also I am on the old Twitter thing so I guess you can follow me at

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We Raise Up A Little Roof Against The Cold

Winter's Bone (Granik, 2010)

While I sat in the theater watching Winter's Bone I had memories begin flooding back to me, memories of films of a similar ilk. Shotgun Stories, All the Real Girls, and even the magnificent George Washington all stand as similar films to Granik's first feature length film since 2004. In many ways I half expected to see David Gordon Green's name flash across the screen as a co-director, or at least, as is the case with Shotgun Stories, a producer. But it never did, and when the credits started to roll and Granik's name rolled across the screen I had a throbbing desire to check out the rest of her work because, to be quite honest, Winter's Bone is currently a top contender for my best film from the first half of 2010. Granik brings a harshness to her landscapes and its inhabitants that compliment one another brilliantly, a world that has slowly plodded on simply to keep up with the rest of the country. The barren hills and shacks are populated with televisions, stoves, and machinery, but the film's look is decidedly bleak and causes these marks of modern times to echo the citizens.

Ree Dolly, played brilliantly by the startlingly enticing Jennifer Lawrence, is a seventeen year old woman who works as her house by day, caring for her younger brother and sister, and tracks her father Jesup down by night in order to save her home. I watch her on screen and it becomes apparent that, while she appears to be a modern individual, she is like the land. She continues to move on throughout the film, but ultimately she is stagnant and broken down. Her attempts to join the military are ill placed, her attempts to find her father are constantly met with failure, and she is surrounded by drug dealers, users, and violent posses. Lawrence brings the perfect resolve to this character, unwavering determination and drive the face of adversity, and as the film progressions we as viewers become like Ree; without question we continue and hope because we see that, if she can keep watch over her siblings, there is a chance her brother and sister do not have to be contained. I still do not completely know how Lawrence so masterfully captures this resolve, but her turn as Ree is complex and gripping. She is, of course, surrounded by a terrific supporting cast, but just as Ree is the anchor in this world, Lawrence is the film's ballast (side note: this film also reminds me a bit of Ballast.)

What strikes me so much about this film is not only Granik's ability to create such a well developed mood through the characters and the landscapes, but to also maintain a sense of urgency through the script. Very often films of this nature get so caught up in character development that standard 'action' falls by the wayside, and while the characters here, and certainly in other films, are strong enough to sustain a feature length production, the plot's driving force is genuinely intriguing and engaging. Granik lays out the film's stakes so perfectly that we realize the severity of the situation even before events become violent. If the Dolly house is seized a good chance exists that this family is doomed for at least another generation. But the strength of the script does not stop in its ability to weave character study aspects with traditional plot elements; instead, the script even reaches farther to address basic aspects of humanity. The familial unit, in so many diverse forms, is examined, as is the entire concept of humans as social beings. The building of a society and the construction of values. The film's subtext is not only staggering, but truly astounding.

I knew little of Winter's Bone going in, and what little I did know I had expected to enjoy, but in many ways this film is built for me to love. The film is as meditative as it is tense, as layered as it is simplistic, and a rare film that bleeds atmosphere while hardly ever faltering in any other aspect. Winter's Bone contains all the detail and beauty of a wonderfully painted portrait, knock out cinematography, and such an incredibly strong central performance that I imagine Lawrence will be one of the first names to pop up come December when I am making a year end wrap up list. More films should be as expertly crafted as Winter's Bone.

Generals Gathered In Their Masses Just Like Witches At Black Masses

Micmacs (Jeunet, 2010)

The French are a people filled to the brim with whimsy. At least what I know of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's filmography gives me grounds with which I formed this notion. I have never seen Juenet's most famous film, Amelie, but if Micmacs is any indication of what I can expect from that film, I suppose I ought to spend some time watching the other film. What struck me so much about Micmacs was the way that the scenes simply flow into one another, capturing perfectly the a range of emotions that each scene demands. While the film is, by nature, an incredibly light hearted event, what surprised me was not how well the comedy on display is handled, but rather how suspenseful and dramatic the film became during the 'heist' sequences. These scenes blend comedy with delightfully dark moments to create such an engaging mood.

The film also never takes itself incredibly seriously, which adds to the mood created by the blending of reality with surreality. The film opens with a shockingly jarring few sequences involving a few bouts with death that, for me, came completely out of left field. These scenes were completely necessary though, as well as very enjoyable, as they provide set up for the rest of the film. Actually, this film narratively bears a remarkable amount of resemblance to one of my favorite films of last year, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Our protagonist attempts to take down two big businesses in a decidedly whimsical manner. But the difference is found in the much more overt social commentary that comes along with Jeunet's film. While Fox reaches greater understanding by serving as a critique of classicism, Jeunet is more concerned with the directly 'human' troubles that companies, specifically companies designed to create war, cause in the world. Early on in the film one of the company heads boasts that his weapons are designed to maximize on collateral damage to cost the enemy more money than dead soldiers would require.

One aspect that I particularly loved was the inclusion of billboards throughout the film that boasted the film's title and were direct mirrors of the scene that was currently playing out. Given the film's introduction this aspect added another layer of intrigue, causing me to wonder exactly how much of the world on display is 'real.' The entire film builds to a climax that is immensely rewarding, tying the film up wonderfully and solidifying the generally fantastic pacing on display. While Jeunet's work does occasionally feel a bit too topical in its approach, and despite a number of scenes occasionally carrying on to the point where the whimsy became slightly overwhelming, Micmacs is an enjoyable and self aware romp through a just barely surreal France.