Bobby Platt (Christian Bale) is a mentally slow young man who escapes an abusive, hateful stepfather who has killed his pets one by one. To save himself, Bobby runs away and meets a strange...
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Bobby Platt (Christian Bale) is a mentally slow young man who escapes an abusive, hateful stepfather who has killed his pets one by one. To save himself, Bobby runs away and meets a strange old man (Sir John Hurt) who wanders the highways to bury roadkill animals. Bobby becomes the old man's apprentice and learns to see the world of nature in a strange idyllic way. But soon the shadow of his stepfather catches up to him and Bobby's world explodes into a grotesque nightmare.Written by
First, I want to say that- if you are by any chance the director or writer or producer or anyone who worked on this film, please contact me for a job working with you, I want to work in film and this is a prime example of what I love to see at the cinema. I was in luck that, for the Palm Beach Film Festival, one of the films was cancelled and "All the Little Animals" was substituted. I have always loved Christian Bale's acting, and he is really great in this one- but the entire film is beautiful and captivating. The cinematography is gorgeous, from the streets of London to the forest where much of the film takes place- I especially loved a castle resting magically on a hilltop and dreamlike sequences where Bale's character is floating down a river holding a fox. This is indeed a film about little animals- mainly ones that are found dead on the street. This is a risky film in that it tries to balance fantasy and adventure with true horror (I guess that qualifies it for the "classic" fantasy genre of story books in which the endings were not always happy and the events were sometimes brutal)- making it very questionable for small children. I have rarely been so shaken by suspense at the movies as I was toward the awesomely climactic final scenes here. There is a human villain in this film who is so outrageously, perversely evil that he will come off as a joke for those who are not scared to death by him. I was. John Hurt is quite wonderful too, as an old hermit who befriends Bale. I do not want to spoil the plot- but I will say that it involves many a dead animal- and the moral theme that animals are as beautiful, if not more, than people (from the giant beasts down to microscopic ones). I got the feeling half way through this film that the late Jim Henson would have loved this - it is not unlike the "Storyteller" films that he directed for television in the late 80s, in which John Hurt played the narrator. In fact, the Hurt character is quite similar to the one he played in those as well. Here is a film that is great to look at, terrifically acted and written, and very moral. It is the best film I have seen yet this year.
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