STARRING: Daniel Craig, Catherine McCormack, Romola Garai, Jonathan Pryce, Ian Holm

2006, 105 Minutes, Directed by:
Christian Volckman

Using the same rotoscoping animation techniques whereby animators trace over live-action film movements, frame by frame as those employed in Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, Renaissance is one of those “love it or hate it” affairs destined to become a cult favorite in years to come.

This 2006 French movie took six years to complete on a budget of a mere 15 million dollars. The results are certainly impressive – at least on a purely visual level. It is like watching a live action Black & White comic book.

In fact it is more Sin City (the graphic novel) than Sin City (the movie)! There are hardly any shades of grey and only two brief sequences allow for some brief dashes of color. To be honest we kinda missed colors and think that the movie would have been improved by some more splatterings of occasional color, just to break the film’s somewhat oppressive palette.

Think Blade Runner with the visuals of Sin City and you will have a good idea of what to expect of Renaissance.

The (very) film noir plot unfortunately isn’t as impressive as the movie’s wondrous visuals. In the Paris (France, not Texas) of the year 2054, a crack cop named Karas (Daniel Craig) is assigned to solve the mysterious kidnapping of a young woman scientist.

The woman (Romola Garai) is one of a major multinational company’s best geneticists, and there is more to the kidnapping that meet the eye and Karas soon gets caught up in a deadly corporate conspiracy . . . Plotting is alas somewhat by the numbers and (in true noir style) on the muddled side and the story tends to drag towards the end.

Still, Renaissance ought to appeal to adult animation fans because of its very unique visual approach and style. Science fiction fans will find much in its cyberpunk-ish plot that is familiar, but they too will appreciate the film’s unique visuals.



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