My Rating: 4 stars
Now here’s another odd, little, French movie to celebrate my ongoing vacation in France. It’s about Bazil, a video store clerk who has suffered serious and acute head trauma—a bullet to the brain, specifically. It’s lodged there inoperably and permanently, and it dramatically affects his memory and general motor skills. And, now it’s Bazil’s mission to fight the global arms trade that contributed both to his own injury and to the death of his father. Sounds pretty heavy, right? Perhaps you’d be surprised to learn that this is actually a pretty wacky comedy?
Well, this movie definitely is a comedy (albeit a dark one), and it comes complete with a hilariously mismatched group of friends—friends who have all suffered at the hands of the evil arms manufacturers. And, these misfits band together to wage this fight alongside Bazil. But, these kids aren’t completely useless. They each possess their own special talents, and these skills make them uniquely (and conveniently) suited to this kind of guerilla warfare. There’s a math expert, a contortionist, a human cannonball, and many more. It’s a strange jumble of characters, to say the least.
This film is directed by one of my favorite directors of all time, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I’ve loved all his work—even as far back as the old, Jeunet-Caro days of City of Lost Children and Delicatessen. He’s always been known for his whimsical, yet incredibly dark and grotesque aesthetic. And, this guy also has a penchant for Rube Goldberg style traps and gadgets. So, he’s the perfect director for this kind of strange story of revenge and calculated punishment. Because, Bazil doesn’t merely want to hurt those who have hurt him. He wants them to understand what they’ve done—profiting from instruments of death and destruction. And, he wants them to feel the same kind of helplessness and loss that he’s been through, himself. It’s heavy material. But, this movie is fantasy. It has comic-book morality. The good guys are blameless, and the bad guys are pure evil. And, it feels so good to see our heroes get the retribution they seek.
I’d definitely recommend this movie to my readers. It’s a very strange one. And, it isn’t necessarily teaching the most sophisticated lesson. It doesn’t account for all the shades of grey that tinge the decisions we make in real life. But, it’s a quirky story about the underdog making good. And, that kind of thing can be a nice palate-cleanser every now and then.