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In the near future, oil reserves are nearly depleted and Europe is connected by series of underground tunnels. While navigating these tunnels, Roger hears voices, one in particular. Seeking a way to rid himself of the voice only leads Roger deeper into a bizarre conspiracy of control - mind and body. Written by
Pusan International Film Festival
Tarik Saleh's Metropia is for me the most striking animated film of the decade. It's crafted with a process called photo montage, in which the likenesses of the actors, or vague traces of them, are mapped into stunningly rendered images of eye boggling depth and clarity. The color palette and tone is groggy, grey and bleak, but because of the dazzling animation, such bleary proceedings seem gorgeous, a feast for the eyes and minds of anyone who loves innovative technology. The story itself isn't particularity groundbreaking, although well executed and with moments of singular brilliance. Because of the unique visuals on display though, we coast along on that high, and the story rises to meet it. Oddball cult favourite Vincent Gallo plays Roger, a timid office drone in a drab futuristic Europe, connected by an intricate underground metro system. He begins to hear voices, which are nefarious in nature, and lead him on a search that brings him to a multinational corporation involved in mind and body control for the sake of product sales, run by tyrant tycoon Ivan Bahn (Udo Kier, having a ball). He's pursued by the companies security force, headed up by Ralph (Stellan Skarsgard) and meets the voice itself, a drone just like him played by Alexander Skarsgard. He is aided by the mysterious Nina ( Juliette Lewis) in his search for the truth and a way out of the confusing conspiracy plaguing him. It's a paced, methodical movie, instead of loud diversions or cheap thrills, like a lot of animated gunk these days. It uses its skills sparingly to advance plot, making the magic in its animation all the more impactful when we do get to see it. It's also really funny in parts. It owes it's story to Orwellian efforts like 1984, as well as Terry Gilliam's Brazil, but makes an effort to break new ground of its own. A treat, if you're able to find it anywhere.
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