Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, Judith Vittet, Joseph Lucien, Dominique Pinon, Jean-Claude
Dreyfus, Genevieve Brunet, Jean-Louis Trintignant
1995, 112 Minutes, Directed by: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Description:Circus strongman One (Ron
Perlman), who wanders the alleys and waterfront dives of a vivid but
menacing fantasy city in a perpetually twilight world looking for his baby
brother, snatched from him by a mysterious gang preying upon the children of
the town. Rising from the harbor is an enigmatic castle where lives the evil
scientist Krank (Daniel Emilfork), who has lost the ability to dream and
robs the nocturnal visions of the children he kidnaps, but receives only mad
nightmares from the lonely cherubs.
More surreal weirdness by the French creative team that gave us Delicatessen. If you had seen the aforementioned movie, then you'll more or less have an idea of what
to expect from City of Lost Children. Or well, not really. There isn't much that'll
prepare you for the general comic book weirdness of this movie. I suppose that having seen
Brazil and some other Terry Gilliam flicks (such as Twelve Monkeys) would also help a little.
The plot concerns a mad
scientist-type that cannot dream and thus "steals" dreams from small children. The small children are kidnapped for him by what could be described as a mixture
between the long-coated figures in Dark City crossed with
low-tech Borg-type baddies (like in Star Trek - First Contact). Along the way there are also a disembodied brain floating in a greenish tank, Siamese
twins who seems to be telepathically linked, a circus strongman (played by Alien Resurrection's Ron Perlman) and a gang of small kids who
also happen to be burglars.
See, I told you: there isn't much that can prepare you for City of Lost Children. General weirdness aside, the film's biggest asset is the beautiful to merely gawk at
production designs. Think a 1940s noirish version of Blade Runner
crossed with Brazil and you're getting there. But the film's look is all it's own,
really. So is its plot and some dazzlingly inventive sequences involving a circus-trained
flea are the movie's definitive highlights.
However, City of Lost Children to my
mind lacks the macabre sense of black humor that permeated Delicatessen
and comes off as slightly inferior to that film. Maybe the sputtering pacing of the film - sometimes the
plot moves fast and sometimes it bogs down - also has something to do with
it. Despite this, there is a lot going for City of Lost Children and if you're up to
something "different" for change then it is definitely worth a rental.
Movie Page Pick:Surreal French movie in the Brazil mould. Someone once remarked of this film that
"everybody talks about it but no-one has actually seen it." Well, reverse the
situation today and find a copy somewhere . . .
Top 100 Sci-Fi
of all time