After his Oscar-nominated animation film Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman did mostly writing work for the last five years, for Israeli, Serbian and even Argentinian TV shows. But now, he's back with an incredibly innovative take on how movie industry will emerge in the coming decades and what decisions actors will have to make as a consequence.
I think the one thing which makes this film so impressive is how Folman managed to link the live action and animation sequences which may have been unmatched in history so far (not that there are too many films that tried it). The film lasts roughly 2 hours. The first 45 minutes or so are exclusively live action and everything afterward is animated (with small exceptions right towards the end). It centers on actress Robin Wright who plays herself in a very emotionally stripped and disarming performance reflecting on her career choices and future in the profession as an actress. While she's clearly the center of attention we also get decent supporting performances from Danny Huston, Harvey Keitel and Jon Hamm. Giamatti, Smit-McPhee and Gayle's parts are too insignificant to really make an impact. Huston, however, has quite the money scene when he, as a ruthless agent, reflects on Wright's career choices and delivers an equally convincing speech just like Keitel when he talks to Robin about his way into the industry while she's in the box unable to continue. Mad Men star Jon Hamm only does voice-work (sorry ladies!) in the animated sequences, but pretty much nails the part as well.
As emotionally investing as the first half was, I had some struggles with the story when the film entered the animation part. They could have probably cut 10-15 minutes there and it would not have decreased the film's overall quality. The Steve-Jobs-reference felt out of place too. But it was still extremely well-made. I have to say I wasn't as moved by the plot of Wright in relation to her son as I would have liked to (except the final meeting of Wright and Giamatti's character which was truly emotional) and as the whole film pretty much turned around this storyline, I mainly enjoyed the brilliant animation without really thinking much deeper about the plot there and it may have been a good decision. It's done with incredible dedication to detail and I believe Folman topped his work from "Waltz with Bashir" with this one. So it was certainly worth the five years he made us wait. Very much recommended and, without a doubt, one of the most creative and innovative movies of the decade so far.
14 out of 24 found this helpful