presents a post-apocalyptic scenario set entirely in a dank and gloomy building where the landlord operates a delicatessen on the ground floor. But this is an altogether meatless world, so the butcher-landlord keeps his customers happy by chopping unsuspecting victims into cutlets, and he's sharpening his knife for the new tenant (French comic actor Dominque Pinon) who's got the hots for the butcher's near-sighted daughter. Delicatessen
is a feast (if you will) of hilarious vignettes, slapstick gags, and sweetly eccentric characters, including a man in a swampy room full of frogs, a woman doggedly determined to commit suicide (she never gets it right) and a pair of brothers who make toy sound boxes that "moo" like cows.
It doesn't amount to much as a story, but that hardly matters; this is the kind of comedy that leaps from a unique wellspring of imagination and inspiration, and it's handled with such visual virtuosity that you can't help but be mesmerised. French co-directors of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro have wildly inventive imaginations that gravitate to the darker absurdities of human behaviour, and their visual extravagance is matched by impressive technical skill. There's some priceless comedy here, some of which is so inventive that you may feel the urge to stand up and cheer. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
On the DVD: the special features are pretty standard, with a trailer, "making of" featurette and footage of the rehearsal process. The audio commentary is supplied by Jeunet, which, although interesting, is in French and thus necessitates the use of subtitles which then obliterate the movie's own subtitles. Once the commentary is on it is virtually impossible to turn this option off without reloading the disc. However, the Dolby stereo works wonders for this film, which is rich in sound, and surprisingly the 1.85:1 letterbox ratio is perfect for a film that is grainy by design. --Nikki Disney
In a burnt-out city on the verge of collapse, a canny butcher (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) employs various young handymen, kills them, and then sells them as meat. When ex-circus performer Louison (Dominique Pinon) arrives looking for work, it seems that his head will be the next on the block. But Louison falls in love with Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac), the butcher's daughter, and together they join forces with an underground vegetarian group who plan to bring an end to the butcher's cruel regime.