Tarik Saleh, who made Metropia, is a Turkish graffiti artist living in Sweden and who made an effective 2005 documentary on Guantanamo interrogation techniques called Gitmo. Now he's turned to Orwellian sci-fi, with nods to Kafka and Hitchcock. The opening text of his gray, photo-realistic animated dystopia, which premiered at Venice and was shown at the London Film Festival, reads: The end of the millennium marked the end of many things. Natural resources dried up, the global financial markets crashed and the crisis that connected the fate of all people, still left the individual isolated in his ruin. It's 2024. We're in Sweden. Oil has run out, hence the construction of "Metropia," a new pan-European subway system. This computer animated film is built up out of actual photos using real people's faces and things. Everything is somber and dark and murky and grayish blue, but hey, it's Sweden; and there's a kind of beauty in the drabness, at least at first; visuals are not the weak point of this film. Where it bogs down is in its meandering and ultimately uninteresting plot.
Protagonist Robert (sensitively voiced by Vincent Gallo) is a dull call-center worker whose expressionless face and big soulful Keane eyes exude a preternatural calm; or is there massive Valium in the water system? After Roger starts hearing Big Brother (actually Stellan Skarsgard) talking in his head and responds by following pert, tough-talking Nina (a cold, slinky-voiced Juliette Lewis), which leads him into a meeting of gangsterish world leaders and their overlord, Ivan Bahn (the naturally ghoulish Udo Kier), head of the Trexx Corporation, which owns everything and is pushing an ominous (?) shampoo, whose ads feature Nina. The in-your-head talkers turn out to be nice lookalikes who take coffee breaks and have their own job insecurities. But somebody is plotting with Nina. Yes, this is one of those worlds where paranoia seems justified; but the dangers don't seem very imminent. This computer-animated photo-based animated film starts out promisingly and has an appealing (if transcendently drab) look with memorable visuals right up to the end, but the nearly-comatose quality of the main characters and the failure to generate suspense or build to a strong climax leads to a ho-him final feel.
Seen as one of three features in the San Francisco Film Society's 4th Annual Animation Festival in November 2009, this film was part of the London Film Festival in October. Metropia has been nominated for several prizes. It won the Future Film Digital Award at the Venice Film Festival and is slated for theatrical release in Sweden December 27, 2009. It is a production of Atmo Films.
Animation / Drama
Animation / Drama
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.
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August 15, 2011 at 12:03 am