What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this mature motion-capture animated film features dark, typically film-noirish themes: identity theft, DNA manipulation, murder, kidnapping, betrayal, and depression. There's lots of violence, rendered in harshly black-and-white, high-contrast animation (guns, knives, car chases/collisions, an explicitly and upsettingly dead dog). The first violent scene involves a young kidnap victim, who endures shooting all around him before being saved. The plot involves genetic research on humans, including photos of sad-looking subjects. A sexual encounter is implied by kissing; it's followed by a scene in which the couple smoke cigarettes. A gangster appears in a pool with naked women (breasts are visible). Characters smoke cigarettes, drink liquor, and use foul language.
What's the story?
As RENAISSANCE opens in 2054 Paris, Detective Karas (voiced in the U.S. release by Daniel Craig) is saving a young boy with brutal efficiency. Karas understands the effects of childhood trauma: He's been living with it since he was a kid, when he and his best friend Nusrat Farfella (voiced as an adult by Kevork Malikyan) ran from a man with a gun. The image haunts Karas, reminding him of what it means to be afraid. And so he does his best to ease others' fear and pain. Meanwhile, Karas must find Ilona Tasuiev (Romola Garai), a missing genetic researcher who'd been looking into a DNA project related to aging that either started or stopped dead in 2006 and had implications for immortality. Ilona's employer -- short, shock-banged villainish Dellenbach (Jonathan Pryce) -- knows something about her disappearance, but he's not talking. So Karas is forced to seek information from a couple of other reluctant sources, Ilona's sister Bislane (Catherine McCormack) and mentor Jonas Muller (Ian Holm).
Is it any good?
Sharp-angled and dark-themed, this French film combines science fiction, film noir, and motion-capture animation. It features all of the usual noir elements -- a stoic hero, a tangled plot, and deep shadows, both literal and figurative. But be warned: While the film is intelligent and intriguing, it's also, on occasion, slow-moving and grim.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the relationship between the two sisters: What does Brislane's dedication to saving Ilona have to do with their shared trauma as children? How does Karas' own youthful trauma contribute to his devotion to saving victims (especially kidnap victims)? What's so appealing about the idea of immortality via genetic engineering? Do you think it's a good idea? What are the risks? Why are ethical boundaries important when dealing with issues like this? Families can also talk about the movie's technique. Does motion-capture animation convey more or less emotion than other types of animation? How does the animation play into the film's noir nature?