A former clown (Dominique Pinon) takes a job and a room in the Delicatessen of the title, unaware that the owner is fattening him up for the other tenants to feast on. Horrified, the smitten owner's daughter contacts the people-protecting vegetarian underground - but will they get him out in time? Shot-through with sharp black-humour, Delicatessen is a riotous and imaginative concoction blending quirky characters, surreal comedy, visual gags, romance, horror and genuinely nail-biting tension. It's probably trying to say something about something, but the sheer imagination and in-your-face flair are enough of a reason to see it.
The nightmarish sets are worthy of a credit in their own right. The creepy corridors, crannies and even plumbing of the claustrophobic tenement are almost characters themselves and deserve their big bow in the finale.
Delicatessen is colourful, chilling, sweet, rib-tickling and scary. And you can't say that about many films. Grabbing you from the start, it never lets up - the opening is typically French in its deadpan fusion of black humour. This delicatessen is not somewhere you'd want to work or stay and may not do any favours for the rented sector. But it's certainly a film to see - a landmark in French cinema and a sensory feast in its own right
Folk familiar with Amelie will recognise the trademark Jeunet pot-pourri style. In Delicatessen , though, the strokes are bolder, broader and darker. Barking mad rather than quaintly curious. Yet somehow childishly winsome in its trumpeting of innocent goodness. If you can cope with that, you'll love it. Once seen, Delicatessen 's not easily forgotten, and deservedly so.