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Time Out says
Tue Jul 25 2006Plunging familiar film noir archetypes into a monochrome retro-future world, French director Christian Volckman’s bleak and boldly experimental animated feature mixes the paranoid technophobia of Phillip K Dick with the hard-boiled melancholy of Raymond Chandler. Although superficially similar to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City’, it does not indulge in masturbatory, misogynist fantasies about sadistic men and willing women. Au contraire: while seemingly driven forward by the tough-guy hero’s quest, the film’s real engine is a pair of strong female characters.
Paris, 2054. The bright utopian promise of the ubiquitous Avalon corporation’s fizzing adverts contrasts starkly with the murky shadows of the city’s criminal underbelly. Down these mean streets, care-worn cop Karas seeks brilliant young genetic scientist Ilona, whose disappearance may be linked to her work on premature ageing. Avalon boss Dellenbach wants his star researcher back ASAP, as does Ilona’s fiercely protective sister Bislane, for whom Karas has the hots. But Ilona’s boss and mentor, Dr Jonas Muller, is inexplicably cagey; so Karas seeks the help of sleazy gangster Farfella.
The high-contrast images recall the expressionism of Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’, while the immersive motion capture technique draws us into a world that is psychologically, as well as visually, three-dimensional. Gratifyingly downbeat and far more coherent than the Japanese anime movies to which it also owes a debt, ‘Renaissance’ intelligently explores the ethical complexities of genetic manipulation. For this Anglicised version, the original French dialogue has been re-voiced by some classy British thesps – Daniel Craig, Romola Garai, Catherine McCormack, Ian Holm and Jonathan Pryce – all of whom lend texture and weight to their well-drawn characters.
Author: Nigel Floyd
Fri Jul 28 2006