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Film Three Stars

It was by total fluke I was walking by the Cameo in Edinburgh and noticed that they were showing Renaissance. After hearing so much about the film in the last month I knew I had to see it, so despite the bulging workload and the looming EIFF, I sidestepped in to watch it.

The clips and trailer for the film look wonderful, the animation being simple black and white, no grey, and yet the picture filled with detail and mood.

Renaissance.jpgFor much of the film you find yourself watching the wonderfully styled animation and soaking up the detail in every shot which is complimented by the continual thought to the placement of the camera to produce some well framed and transitioned shots. The lighting through the use of the stark black and white is very well done. It was initially hard to understand how through these two colours complex scenes could be constructed, but it's done perfectly and gives that comic book and noir type feel.

The beauty of the animation is in the detail of the landscapes and the faces. This was something that really surprised me as there were only a few moments where the body movement felt awkward and animated, the rest of it felt very natural and fluid. It was in the facial movements where the real character was captured though.

The faintest movements of the eyes and lips were used constantly to aid the believability and to lift the visuals of the characters out of the realms of normal animation. This is where the animation is the strongest, in the subtleties and the detail, and it makes it stand out.

It's not just the details and the close ups though, the action scenes are wonderfully done and coupled with some excellent camera angles and movements the action is fluid and at times innovative. There are some superb shots that follow the action where no standard camera could go, however that's not to say the story is swamped by the style. Not only does it fit well with the futuristic setting, but the style compliments the story and lends much to the mood and noir crime thriller that is at the roots of this film.

There is some confusion within this film though, and it is best shown by the main character himself. At the beginning we see he is troubled and speaks little, in fact the Prosecutor says exactly that to him, "don't you ever speak, is that just an act?" and before long we see he's talking to everyone and sleeping with someone involved in the whole plot. The mystery and troubled aspect of the character is lost to a pretty standard person with a single old tie.

It's something I really did feel during the first half, the plot seems somewhat confused in a few places to the point where the story seemed to leap leaving me behind to catch up later. There were a few moments where I didn't know who these dead people were and why they were being investigated.

However, there's never a sidetrack or leap large enough to lose you, and although you might feel confused for most of the first half about what really is going on, you know there's a conspiracy and come the second half all the threads come together.

This conspiracy theory could have been strengthened with some more exploration of the main corporation and its leader, and this relationship between Karas and Dellenbach just doesn't connect well enough for me.

The best handled story aspect was of Karas' relationship with the gangster Farfella. The relationship between Karas and Bislane was strong, and it was easy to watch the connection grow, but when the pivotal point comes in their story it's as confusing as some of the other aspects of the plot. The fact that the character of Karas falls for her is confusing, never mind the moment that they do connect. It felt forced, cheesy, and the whole moment seemed contrived and forced.

The latter half of the film is where the pace picks up, these issues are left behind, and the thriller part of the film kicks into gear. From here you really do feel that you are being pulled along in the story as a good thriller should. There doesn't feel any problems with pace or with the storyline leaping about and it adopts a very strong conspiracy thriller, all building to a satisfying ending, although there's still a fair amount of confusion that you're left with, this is often a good thing for a film - life does not always tie up all the loose ends.

The voice acting is good, although during the first few scenes there are a few lines which feel out of place and slightly too much. This settles down though and even the usual desire with animation to guess the voice seems to fall by the wayside as you become taken in by the film. I think I stopped once I recognised Daniel Craig, Jonathan Pryce and Sean Pertwee, again, an actor who just isn't used enough in this or any film.

Overall it's well worth watching as the story is good, if somewhat confused in the first half, and the styling is wonderful and yet never overpowering. This film looks stunning and at key scenes just seems to get so much better, scenes of snow or rain look so natural that you'll forget you're watching animation.

An Inconvenient Truth
This was the first time I'd seen this trailer, I'll be watching it at EIFF and I was shocked to see how eloquent and strong Al Gore is, for his portrayal in the UK during his political career was far from the man I saw talking. A powerful piece of editing.

Nacho Libre
This is another edit of the trailer, and one I hadn't seen already, and I've seen a few now. There were about ten people in the cinema, and there wasn't a laugh to be heard from the mix of ages and types. There was one gentleman who had a few sniggers late on in the trailer, but that's all it amounted to. This is far from my watch list.

A Scanner Darkly
This looked wonderful on the big screen, although the trailer was very confusing and felt like a series of sketches connected only by similar characters, it did grab my attention and I'm keen to see this, particularly for the strong cast. There was even some space for humour, and it gained a few more giggles than Nacho Libre.

IMDB film details



I am disappointed! I thought this would be a great movie, considering the previous buzz and the awards! Oh well...

I don´t think a Scanner Darkly will even be better.


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