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Year : 2006
Country : United-States

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Strangef8  [ 7.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

In 2054, Paris is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Cut off from the world for its own protection, the city has nonetheless continued to expand. Now, 21st century skyscrapers overlay centuries-old architectural masterpieces. And below street level, a sophisticated network of streamlined plazas push up against the city's ancient, deteriorating tunnel systems. Casting a shadow over everything is the city's largest company, Avalon, which insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export--eternal youth and beauty. When 22-year-old Ilona (Romola Garai), one of Avalon's most promising scientists, is abruptly kidnapped, Avalon calls on Barthélémy Karas (Daniel Craig), a Paris cop with a hard-fought reputation for finding anyone, no matter what sacrifices he has to make along the way. As the trail gets hot, Karas senses he's not the only one looking for the beautiful enigma, and every witness he digs up seems to turn up dead. To find Ilona and unlock the secrets of her disappearance, Karas must plunge deep into the parallel worlds of corporate espionage, organized crime and genetic research where the truth imprisons whoever finds it first and miracles can either save the world, or end it.

I want to state for the record, that I know very little about Noir films. The only experiences I have had are the newer examples, which are mostly homage's. Films like Brick, Femme Fatale, Blade Runner and so forth. Hell, I don't really know what noir means! So if you are a big fan of noir films, please excuse my ignorance.

The first thing that grabs you is the animation. If Sin City brought a comic book to life while actually keeping with style of Frank Miller's work, then Renaissance brings a comic to full 2D life. Looking as if every frame could be a panel from a graphic novel, Renaissance shows that you can make a comic book-like movie without being a cartoon. The only thing missing is the dialogue balloons. I am not going to go on about the animation, even though that is the most striking thing about this film, because most other reviews will probably focus on this aspect of the film.

Director Christian Volkman mixes elements of Blade Runner, 1984 (Not the Van Halen record), Sin City and The Matrix to create this futuristic crime story. Helping him is an excellent voice cast including Daniel Craig as Karas, Ian Holm as Dr. Jonas Muller, and Jonathan Pryce as Paul Dellenbach, the CEO of Avalon. The other two leads – Bislane and Ilona Tasuiev, are played admirably by Catherine McCormack and Romola Garai, respectively.

The story is a straightforward crime drama with all of the expected twists and turns. Which I don't want to go into detail about as those twists are half the fun of crime dramas. What really makes this movie believable, well, as believable as an animated movie set in the future can be, is that the technology shown is not the flashy type seen in films such as MIB and Star Wars. It seemed like most of the advances were practical in nature. No BFG's or anything like that. There was some interesting product placement though. The communication devices used by the police are tiny, about the size of a dime, and stick directly on the neck with the Motorola "M" shown prominently. Another scene shows a billboard for Coca-Cola Light. While I noticed these placements, they weren't obtrusive. The only real problem I had with the movie is that after a while the animation got to me a little. While having as much detail as possible, there is only so much you can do with plack and white. My opinion is that it needed some shades of gray to add some depth.

Final thoughts? This movie edges over the line past novelty film and into the realm of an interesting film that uses the animation not as a gimmick, but as a different type of palette with which to paint the story. This isn't a movie I will buy when it comes out on DVD, but I will rent it. These types of dramas are always worth a second viewing to see if you can catch the clues.

Here is a way to tell how much I enjoyed it. I only looked at my watch once during the viewing. And that was with about a half hour left to the film. I may actually start using that idea to rate films. What do you think?

So, until Taco Bell wins the fast food wars,
keep reading

Mitch Emerson

Best Line:

Karas: "First we find her, then we sleep."

Weighted Rating : 6.8
No. Ratings : 1
No. Reviews : 1

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2006 92
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