Get out your meat cleavers and gas masks, we're reviewing Delicatessen!
Delicatessen is older bloody brother of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who directed the wonderful Amelie, a movie I'm sure many of you have put in their favorites section. But is this older cousin worth checking out?
In this post-apocalyptic world, Society has all but crumbled and food is used as a currency. In an apartment complex ruled by a butcher(Jean-Claude Dreyfus), new customers check in but they don't check out. Enter Louison(Dominique Pinon), a former circus clown coming in to fill the new handyman job. Even thoguh the butcher's Daughter Julie(Marie-Laure Dougnac) has taken a liking to the new tenant, can he survive or will his neighbors literally eat him alive?
Watching this, you can definitely see the weird visual style and physical comedy of Amelie, though it's definitely more dramatic. Apparently Jeunet does a lot of weird movies, and Amelie was one of the normal ones( will be watching this soon). It's an interesting concept for a post-apoc. movie to have food as the currency. I don't see this done in many stories but I can see it happening in real life if anything were to happen.
You can tell this is a french movie and not American because Dominique Pinon is the main character. Not that he's bad looking or is bad for the role, it's just he's more of a character actor than an all around handsome stand-up guy(He was that wheelchair guy from Alien Resurrection). And honestly I couldn't be more pleased with that. I'm glad it's a quirky normal guy, especially in this setting.
They label this as a comedy, and gosh does it have its comedic moments, but it's also pretty dramatic(though not as gory as I'd thought with the main character being a butcher). They even kill a guy within the first five minutes! And then there are those parts with the "troglodytes" (they're underground sewer dwellers in wetsuits with names made up by the lost boys from Peter Pan) which are just outright silly. They look like they just stepped out of an anime.
And then there's Madame Tapioca, who comes up with all these elaborate ways to kill herself and never seem to work. It's like she watched all the Final Destination movies and Death is just slapping her in the face. And it's funny. It's just weird how many dramatic moments and a post-apoc. setting can be turned so comical. The comedy and visual gags are really well done though. What Jeunt likes to do is set up a character's plan and show how badly it backfires on them.
There are a whole mess of side characters and they're all pretty distinct, but with so many fighting for screen-time it's hard to keep track with what happens to who. Then other characters pop back in the frame who you forgot were there because you haven't seen them in so long.
THE GOOD: Comical story and interesting idea, nice to see where Amelie came from.
THE BAD: A bit slow, a bit dated, very weird.
OVERALL: It's a fun little film you should check out if you really liked the style of Amelie, but failing that, it's not a must-see.
ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: I think the scene from the trailer sums it up nicely.