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Movie Reviews

Film Noir



Released: 2007

Directors: D. Jud Jones & Risto Topaloski

Stars: Mark Keller, Bettina Devin, Roger Jackson

Reviewer: David Phillips

This curious animated film is an homage to film noir and in many ways it ticks every classic noir box.

Private Detective Sam Ruben (replete with narration) regains consciousness next to a dead cop at the foot of the Hollywood sign and his predicament is further complicated by the amnesia with which he is suffering. The story follows him as he tries to discover how he got himself into this mess.

Unfortunately for this film, the style of noir has since been surpassed in animated form in the excellent L.A. Noir video game. So, this is like watching that game play out on a black and white television and no interaction.

The animation is pretty good though, but it let down by the clumsy storyline, one-dimensional characters and a very stilted line delivery from the voice actors. This makes the whole package come across like a student film: a good student film, but nonetheless whilst it follows many of noir’s typical hallmarks it fails to capture the true essence of bleakness of noir.

There are some explicit scenes of sex and violence, but these seem to be thrown in for effect rather than to be pertinent to the story.

If anyone remembers the “Jane” animated TV series based upon the comic strip in the early 1980’s then this film is closer to that end of the noir animation quality spectrum with perhaps Sin City sitting pretty at the other end.

As far as a curiosity piece goes and to extend your exposure to film noir it is well worth finding and watching, but don’t expect to be blown away or wishing for a sequel.

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