Science fiction and fantasy                                            


directed by Christian Volckman

Renaissance poster  
Renaissance looks unique. With its monochrome 3D animation it has the feel of a game, probably one that involves lots of sneaking about in the dark and shooting people. But it's noir taken to the extreme, all harsh blocks of black and white and precious little in between, the way the world would look if the government decided to tax gradients and outlaw colours. There are actually a few scenes where the reflections and transparencies are well rendered and the animators have added grey to the picture. Yet the overall effect is too oppressive. The film's utter lack of colour lets it down, because it seems like a cost-cutting exercise rather than a matter of style.

Based in Paris in 2054, the plot revolves around the kidnap of Ilona Tasuiev (voiced by Romola Garai). She's a young scientist who specialising in the prevention of ageing. She works for Avalon, a large corporation that sells health, beauty, and anti-ageing treatments with the help of some creepy and ubiquitous advertising.

Daniel Craig plays Karas, the tough-guy investigator assigned to the case. His work takes him into the city's least savoury locations, and into firefights on a regular basis. He's stalked by men wearing hi-tech cloaking devices. It's a fairly standard story of corporate greed, radical and dangerous scientific breakthrough, and human weakness and corruption. There aren't many surprises here, though there is a high body count.

During his inquiries Karas meets Ilona's sister, Bislane (Catherine McCormack). She's desperate to find her little sister and get her to safety, and determined to do things her way. Karas doesn't know whether or not he can trust her to help in his search. In the tradition of noir, almost everyone he meets has something to hide or some kind of ulterior motive.

In spite of the future setting, Renaissance may as well have been told in the present day because the way it's animated doesn't take any advantage of this science fiction backdrop. The monochrome tends to strip away a lot of the detail, and with that we lose any sense of wonder that the creators might have realised. What's left is the story, which is a so-so affair. The tone is as serious and dark as the visuals, the dialogue flat and humourless. Although there's plenty of action it doesn't make the characters any more likeable, so unfortunately it's not a very moving experience.

Film Details

Year: 2006

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

If you like this, try:

A Scanner Darkly cover    

A Scanner Darkly by Richard Linklater
This adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel depicts a man struggling with madness, paranoia and addiction in a near-future dystopia.

2 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson