The City of Lost Children (Jeunet & Caro)

Rating: 2.5

Like DELICATESSEN, the debut feature by Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro, 
their latest film, THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN is a visual wonder, crammed 
from beginning to end with spectacular images, sets, costumes, and faces 
(those faces!).  Unlike DELICATESSEN, however, it's also a mess.  The 
former film's simple, streamlined narrative precluded any possibility of 
its look overwhelming its emotional content; here, everything is on the
surface, and though it's clear that the filmmakers intended it to be a
moving fable, or fairy tale, about the splendor of childhood dreams, only
their technical bravura seizes the imagination.  There are at least a
dozen terrific ideas, but they remain ideas only--they never coalesce.
And for a fairy tale, THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN is remarkably muddy
storytelling; the film jumps around like the incredible flea that
inhabits its most visceral special-effects sequences, and quite how
various characters and events are connected is frequently unclear.
Dominique Pinon, however, is a riot--all six of him.