Let me just begin with this. This movie has a 6.5/10 rating on Imdb. Thankfully, it has a 87% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Imdb users who have voted this movie so low, you people are nonsense. I do respect everyone’s views but this time I will not. I would like to keep ranting about this, but if you don’t have perspective or don’t have a heart, don’t vote. Your rating is just shooing away people from watching such pieces of art.
Sorry about that. I really don’t remember how I got this movie. It was just lying there and I planned to give it a try. Obviously I was sceptical because of the rating. I hadn’t even watched the trailer so I had no idea what I was getting into. I watched the French version and not the English dubbed version. I found the French version more preferable because it gave an authentic feel to it. Even though the setting of the movie is in New York, the outrages of Mary sounded much more cute in French than in English.
So, the story is about a boy named Leo, who through some fantastical circumstances get in touch with a cop called Alex. Then they embark on a thrilling chase to catch a criminal who is threatening to blow up the city, if the mayor doesn’t pay him a billion dollars. I don’t want to give anything away. I’ll just say this that there are many fantasy elements but it is incorporated into the movie beautifully. Don’t read the story on Wikipedia or on Imdb or anywhere else. Trust me.
The animation is different from anything I have seen before. It looked like a feature length painting. Just not that. The snappy direction by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol(who also has written the screenplay) gave the movie an upbeat vibe in spite of the prevalent darker themes. There was a beautiful and soothing flow to the movie. The music was so rich and supported the tone of the movie aptly. There are so many laugh out loud sequences and most of them come from the Face and his goons and especially their pet dog.
Coming to the voice acting, it was extremely well performed. Edouard Baer as Alex portrays the soft and caring side of a N.Y. city cop. Audrey Tatou as Mary is just awfully cute. I think that adjective is positive. Alex Gagnol’s Leo has the maximum screen-time and he holds his own throughout. Jean-Pierre Marielle as the Face is just amusing. He had me cracking whenever Face started recollecting the events of his disfigurement and the subsequent frustration at not being able to complete the story. It was the best gag throughout the movie.
The movie was just 1 hour and 41 minutes long, but I wanted to stay in that world much longer than that. I don’t know what kind of animation was done because it all look hand-painted. There was some amazing use of colour in each frame. The movie even had subtle moments that made my eyes tear up. There were many quite moments which gave some gravity to the characters. It allowed me as an audience to be with them in their most private moments. I think, in a way, that helped me care about them. Recently due to the advent of so many animated movies, I’ve grown a bit allergic to the plastic feel of 3D animation. Kubo and the Two Strings(2016) breathed some fresh air into the genre and now this.
FINAL VERDICT – As this movie is from 2015 and still has such less reviews, I am quite sure the main audience has missed this due to some reason. Definitely watch this movie. If you have a knack for unconventional animation then this is it. If you love animation, you’ll love it. I am sure if you’re not one of the Imdb users who has helped in rating this movie, you’re going to love it. I know I am stretching this rant but it has really angered me. If movies like Kubo or this aren’t supported and instead, people throng the theatres to watch Storks or Pets then it will demotivate directors who want to paint the big-screen a bit differently. Definitely, definitely watch this movie and also spread the word.