In 2054, Paris is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Casting a shadow over everything is the city's largest company, Avalon, which insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export, youth and beauty. In this world of stark contrasts and rigid laws, the populace is kept in line and accounted for.
Paris, 2054: a dark motion-captured world of shadows and right angles. Ilona Tasuiev, a brilliant young scientist, is kidnapped, and her employer, Avalon, a major health and beauty corporation, wants her found. Karas, a jaded police captain, is assigned to find her, fast. He seeks help from her sister, Bislane, and they are soon uncovering identify theft, missing files, and hints that something back in 2006 may explain what's going on. Ilona's mentor, Avalon's vice president, a Japanese researcher, an underworld boss, and Bislane's drug connection all figure in the mix. So does an attraction between Karas and Bislane. What's behind the kidnapping? Who's the victim? Written by
The movie is set in 2054, this is shown at the beginning, where the date "Oct 12 2054" is given in the Avalon advertisement. Throughout the movie, Ilona is said to be 22 years old, so she should be born around 2034. However, when she is abducted in the beginning, her passport is falling to the ground and her date of birth is visible as "24/06/2020". So either the movie plays in 2042 or the d.o.b. in her passport is wrong. See more »
Renaissance deftly walks the line between mainstream American animation and Japanese anime. There are no annoying animals here to perform lame songs written by has-been musicians and no esoteric detours through alternate dimensions. Instead, Renaissance is a gritty, innovatively drawn thriller with an engaging central story.
The film's greatest asset is its stunning "film noir" animation. The animators have created a distinctive and haunting look through the use of a black & white colour scheme and the constant manipulation of shadow and light. The result is something akin to an animated lino cut or a manga version of Sin City. Equally impressive is the film's ability to move seamlessly from simple two dimensional outlines to scenes involving the most intricate animation imaginable. This is displayed to good effect during an extended car chase in the middle of Renaissance which contains the kind of dazzling animation usually only seen in the works of Otomo, Oshii and Miyazaki.
Regardless of the calibre of the animation, the film would become boring very quickly without an involving storyline. Renaissance also succeeds in this department with an interesting, if unnecessarily convoluted, plot revolving around a corporate kidnapping and demented scientists. The film benefits greatly from a winning central character in Karas, an unorthodox cop voiced in the English version by Daniel Craig. The voice work and dubbing are generally good, with Catherine McCormack particularly impressive as the voice of Bislane.
Renaissance is one of the best animated film aimed at adults not to originate from Japan. The pace is brisk, the tone is evocative and the direction manages to be effortlessly stylish. Highly recommended for the anti-Pixar crowd.
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