The Tale of the Rat That Wrote (1999)

  |  Short

A Dickensian tale of rats, recompense and retribution.


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6 July 2002 | bob the moo
Looks great and is a nice fable on humanity
A rat with a talent is captured by the rat catcher and put with others for various fates. When the man notices him writing he decides to open the rat up for his brain. The rat escapes to find the outside world just as cruel and decides to help his friends.

I didn't know what to expect from this and I was very pleasantly surprised. The plot gives the rat humanity and indeed shows us as the monsters – the scene at the rat fight shows this clearly (as well as being quite funny in a surprising way!). The story actually gets us totally on the rat's side and is a wonderful fable with a really nice ending.

Visually it looks great. The cityscapes manage to be both Victorian but also impressively build up and imposing. The shoot is in black and white and full of close angles and shadows – this helps the puppets be more real. The rats don't look real but they are full of expression – a wonderful moment is when one of the fighting rats goes from blood-lust to pause to regret and sorrow right till it realises that it's being used, all before our eyes – that's good puppet work for a short! The main win of the rat is that it does convince and manage to be really lovable and win our sympathy straight off.

Overall this is a very different film and well worth checking out. Even if you hate rats you can't help be drawn into this clever little fable on humanity.

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