My Rating: 4 stars
I like this movie a lot, and I’m not sure whether it’s because I like the story, or if I just like the look of the thing. It’s a movie that I find myself thinking about a lot, but I suspect it has more to do with the mood and style that it evokes, rather than anything to do with the story. This movie has an enthralling aesthetic. And, I’m a sucker for this noir graphic-novel style animation. But, the plotline is . . . fine. Something about pharmaceutical malfeasance, and a missing Russian girl. The story is set in 2054 Paris, and follows Detective Karas as he sulks around in the shadows, smoking cigarettes, and not always following the rules of proper policing. But, he always gets his man, dammit! It’s very French, and very stylish, and I’m into it.
The movie is done in that chiaroscuro animation style that almost looks like its tracking 3D movement, but still has a flat look. The characters don’t look like real people necessarily, but their body language feels kind of real. It’s very stylized, and the aesthetic sticks with you. I watched the film when it was first released back in 2006, and more than ten years later I still find myself thinking about it a lot, so I decided to give it another go. And, the movie holds up. Or, at least the bit I like about it does. The story is still kind of murky. And, the character development is pretty scanty. But, I like the dystopic future world the film illustrates. It feels pretty prescient, with the minor technological advances, the corporate money controlling politics, and the shiny surfaces masking a grimy underworld. Plus, everyone just seems really, realistically depressed or apathetic. Sexy subject matter, I know.
I recognize that this movie has its flaws (mostly with the writing). But, I think I’d still recommend it. Perhaps that’s just out of my nostalgia for the film. This movie felt really special when it came out over ten years ago. Or, it could be that I’m overvaluing its style. Whatever it is, it’s definitely an irrational, emotional attachment to the movie. But, maybe there really is something to it. And, I guess I’m curious to see how it affects other people—to see whether it’s just me who’s captivated by it.