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When beautiful and gifted 22 year old geneticist Ilona Tasuiev (voice of Romola Garai) is kidnapped in hologram-filled Paris of 2054, tough streetwise cop Barthelemy Karas (Daniel Craig) is assigned to the case. But there are no ransom demands and as Karas starts piecing clues together with help from Ilona's sister Bislane (Catherine McCormack), he finds conspiracies surrounding the astounding discoveries made much earlier but kept secret by Jonas Muller (Ian Holm). The clues ultimately lead to Ilona's employers, the giant Avalon corporation run by Paul Dellenbach (Jonathan Pryce) - and the secret that could change the future of mankind forever.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With this extraordinary film, director Christian Volckman wanted to "bring together the cinematographic obsessions of the silent era ...using monochrome to return to the roots of cinema in its raw and primal form." In other words the use of light. Add to the mix the graphic, hard edged world of Frank Miller's Sin City, complete with its noirish sensibilities, the flamboyant retro-futurism of Gattaca, all welded onto a sci fi thriller tale and produced using motion capture - and you have one eye popping, evocative movie as it probes the dark recesses of the human condition.

With motion capture, the animation becomes as fluid as live action, but the animation artistry enables the filmmakers to do things not possible in live action. If all this sounds as though the style and the technicals rule the film, not so. That's why Volckman's film is a significant achievement, with its echoes of many influences but purposefully unique and powerful in its own right, enabling the story to be told with maximum impact. The hero's profile fits our classic need for action characters who are driven by a sense of right but without rightousness and a touch of the rebel, while the antagonists are driven by venal and worthless values. The women are tough but vulnerable and of course sexy. And there is pathos aplenty ...

It took seven years of overcoming obstacles and dedicated labour to make, by all accounts, and the result is spectacular. The monochrome work is all sharp lines, creating a world where light and dark exist without margins of grey. It's set in the Paris of the future, but the Eifel Tower is still very much in place, complete with filigree ironwork decorating the arches connecting its feet.

The characters move like humans, and while their faces are less complex than human features, the voices (concentrated form of acting from a fine cast) and the movements create complete and satisfying characters whose dilemmas are the drivers for the emotional core of the story.

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(France/UK/Luxembourg, 2006)

VOICES: Daniel Craig, Patrick Floersheim, Catherine McCormack, Laura Blanc, Romola Garai, Virginie Mery, Jonathan Pryce, Gabriel Le Doze, Ian Holm

PRODUCER: Aton Soumache, Alexis Vonarb

DIRECTOR: Christian Volckman

SCRIPT: Alexandre de La Patellière, Mathieu Delaporte (adaptation by Jean-Bernard Pouy, Patrick Raynal)

EDITOR: Pascal Tosi

MUSIC: Nicholas Dodd

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Pascal Valdes (Art direction)

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes




VIDEO RELEASE: November 8, 2006

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