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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 09.18.08] movie review animation

Year: 2007
Directors: D. Jud Jones / Risto Topaloski
Writers: D. Jud Jones
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 8 out of 10

Its nice to know that not everyone is content to live in a world where the only American animation worth getting excited about involves rats that cook or jive talkin' hippos (and I don't care how cute those penguins are, Surf's Up is little else than a noisy, irritating mess). Indeed, with its violent tendencies, cast of bawdy sexual deviants, and roots in the hard-boiled detective genre, D. Jud Jones' Film Noir is a deliciously adult affair - and comes across all the better for it. This is noir American style. Dark after hours streets with gun totting thugs around every corner, sexy dames and, more importantly, that great American tradition, the story about a guy with amnesia.

Right away the story of Film Noir sucks you in. A man wakes up in the Hollywood hills next to an abandoned car and a dead cop. He's got no memory of how he got there, no wallet, and no name. From there, we follow him as he retraces his steps only to make discoveries about his identity and his past that should probably have stayed forgotten. Debts are owed, bounties are on his head, and a trail of scorned women are waiting in the wings to sell his soul for a toke on the crack pipe. But, with amnesia comes a new lease on life. What if you could start again, and right all your past wrongs? This is the story of Film Noir.

Some viewers may detect similarities between Film Noir and Christian Volckman's black and white cyberpunk stunner, Renaissance. However, where Volckman's film used high technology and motion capture to replicate the flow of human movement, Film Noir is animated in a way more old school way - as in, hand drawn with the odd bit or "real" film footage and thrown in texture. For audiences more accustomed to the pixel perfect animation of studios like Pixar, embracing Film Noir's cruder visual style may be challenging. For me though, the edgier animation was more of a revelation, proving once again that if you've got a good story and an engaging cast of characters, your budgetary constrains will disappear in the mind of the viewer very quickly.

And, if you're worried that Film Noir might be some slow moving mood piece, whose bleating saxophone soundtrack and snails pace will have you passed out on the couch faster than downing a bottle of Rohypnol, don't. There's LOADS of action in the film. In fact, between car chases with helicopters thrown in, shoot outs galore, and a mirad of close calls, Film Noir barrels along at breakneck speed. In fact I would say that one of the best things about Film Noir is its ability to juggle being an intriguing mystery as well as a sweet B action flick.

D. Jud Jones has gone on record say that Film Noir was conceived as a B-movie so, if you let the noir purist in you win out, there's a chance you may not appreciate the film's more exploitative tendencies. However, if you're willing to get entangled in a hard-boiled adult mystery full of larger than life characters then Film Noir is certainly the picture for you.

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Weyland (14 years ago) Reply

really nice job on this flick


S (14 years ago) Reply

I found the film cliche'd and pretentious.
It would have been hated as a live action film, and while the animation helps a bit, it doesn't enough and the horrible klunkiness of the animation kept me from connecting with the characters on any deeper human level.
You can make a good film out of a lacking story(and there was potential for fun here), but this just didn't make it interesting enough for me.
Either work the 'klunkiness' aspect to fit the context, like the red vs. blue animation guys do, or do it properly.
Motion captured characters and more interesting rendering might have done wonders.

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