Sunday, 23 November 2008

REVIEW: Waltz with Bashir

From a visual perspective, this is one of the most beautiful films you will ever see. It looks the shit, and any fan of purely visual cinema should see it several times over. It takes the innocence of animation and blends it with the horror of war to mesmerising effect. It such a deep shame that the structure wasn't paid the same attention. C'est la vie.

It follows a semi-documentary format, in which many members of the Israeli Military play themselves, only animated. The style is similar to the one used in the under-rated A Scanner Darkly, but only refined to a greater quality. Anyway, each soldier recounts his time in Lebanon, questoned by a kind of fictional version of director/writer Ari Folman himself. It ultimately leads up to a massacre commited by Christian fundamentalists after their leader and Idol is assassinaed. It also makes room for some spell-bindingly hallucinatory images of war, the kind from memory rather then of fact. I simply can't praise the visuals enough, it provides a fresh take on covered material and makes such horrific events eerily beautiful. The use of the documentary format works for it and against it. The multiple perspectives a terrific, but the sub-Citizen Kane scenes set 20 years after the conflict weake the movie, as they are usually stilted, and while the animation works a treat for expressionist scenes of war, its somewhat less successful in simple dialogue scenes. A trauma induced amnesia trick is used in the narrative also, and whether it was a reality or not, it cheapens the movie somewhat. I don't mean to rag on it, but Folman understands Image better than he does structure and a picky person would point out the writing faults evident here. But only the pedantic amongst you will care.

This film will get slightly over-praised for the same reasons Sin City did back in the day, once you get over the look small cracks will appear. But whatever because such is the quality of what you're seeing you really won't give a shit.

Rating: 8/10

No comments: