The visuals of Christian Volckman’s film blow away just about everything else on the screen this year. Animated in stark chiaroscuro, with its futuristic cityscapes, astonishing angles, and uncanny imagery ranging from dazzling verisimilitude to near abstraction, it exceeds at times the vistas of Stephen Spielberg’s Minority Report. The story, however, stays rooted in standard noir. It’s Paris in the year 2054, and maverick detective Paul Dellenbach (voiced by new 007 Daniel Craig) is seeking the kidnapped Ilona (Romola Garai), a young scientist for the ubiquitous Avalon corporation, the Halliburton of its day. He meets resistance from Avalon’s boss (Jonathan Pryce) and Ilona’s sister Bislane (Catherine McCormack), and his leads take him to (literal) dead ends. Nothing — surprise! — is as it seems; even a dab of the Orpheus myth at the end succumbs to trite dialogue. A renaissance in animation, perhaps, but otherwise the same old story.
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