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  • Delicatessen
    • Delicatessen
    • Runtime:99 min
    • Release Date:2017-01-16 21:42:36
    • Director: Marc Caro
    • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Thriller
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Delicatessen


In tough economic times, the landlord of an apartment building, who
owns a butcher shop on the first floor, provides meat dishes to his
tenants, but what kind of meat is it? The premise has the potential for
a delicious black comedy, but the execution here is so bad that it's
unwatchable. The humor is more forced than The Three Stooges, and there
is not anything here that is even chuckle-worthy. The comedy is so
overdone that it's not only unfunny, but it's dreary and depressing.
The post-apocalyptic cinematography is somewhat interesting initially
but then it accentuates the drab atmosphere and adds to the dreariness
of the experience.


In the aftermath of an unspecified global catastrophe several odd
outcasts take up residence above a butcher's shop on the outskirts of a
ruined city, where with food (especially meat) in short supply they
await their daily ration of…no, it's not Soylent Green, but the
ingredients are the same. This dizzy French import borrows its mock
portentous mood and visual momentum from the early films of Joel and
Ethan Coen (by way of Terry Gilliam). But unlike a typical Coen
brothers movie this isn't a genre rip-off, presenting instead an
original and at times very black comic fantasy, with an odd
pro-vegetarian subtext (the renegade vegan commandos inhabit the sewers
beneath the city). The co-directors, both with obvious music video
experience, are infatuated with their own clever camera work and
production design (note the omnipotent fish-eye lens, able to roam
though pipes and appliances and so forth), creating some elaborate sets
which they later take great pleasure in destroying during the
protracted climax. But once adjusted to the peculiar characters and
hyperactive cartoon rhythm the film can be a lot of fun. Best running
gag: one elderly tenant's constantly frustrated Rube Goldberg suicide


*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you are looking for a post apocalyptic, bittersweet love story with
a cannibalistic subplot then you've come to the right film.

After some kind of catastrophe meat has become impossible to find but a
local butcher keeps supplying his loyal customers (who are also his
tenants) with their daily iron requirement by all means necessary. I'm
not giving away the plot by revealing "they're killing and eating
humans". We find this out very early on in the film. Not long after we
realise that the customers are in on the secret as well. This shocking
fact is secondary to the main plot of the film, which itself is
probably secondary to the style in which it is made.

The butcher employs resident handymen for the building but the main
reason for employing them is to get a fresh supply of meat. A former
circus performer (Louison) is the latest for the chopping block but
he's a quirky character and beguiles the butcher's daughter and she
decides to save him. We get amusing glimpses into the lives of the
other residents, each one more bizarre than the one before.

This film is directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I've seen
Amelie (directed by Jeunet) and the styles are similar. Both films
create their own worlds in which we become fascinated by the lives of
the quirky characters that inhabit them. However, while Amelie, while
in a world of her own, at least lived a recognisable Paris Delicatessen
is set in a fantasy world of what looks like the only building still
standing in a large city. However there is still television and
electricity (and postmen) because the plot requires them.

Like Amelie the charm of the film is the little details in the film
that may or may not be crucial to the plot, such as the short sighted
daughter buying two of everything in case of breakages and Louison's
saw playing talents.

The overall tone is definitely positive and funny (really, even with
the cannibalism). Basically the motto is love will conquer all. Thank
God, Caro and Jeunet for that.

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