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City of Lost Children

quick, hide behind my overly large head!

This movie is in French, with English subtitles.


Ron Perlman, Judith Vittet, Dominique Pinon

Let’s see if I’ve got this right.  There’s an inventor who created a family for himself using cloning and other technology.  But, all of the people (a wife, a brother, children, and a brain in a jar) all have some sort of defect.  The brother can not dream, and believes that is prematurely aging him.  So, he starts kidnapping children in order to connect to their minds and experience their dreams.  The problem is, they’re so afraid of the situation they’re in, the children only have nightmares.  When the child that strongman One (Perlman) is looking after is kidnapped, he’s on a mission to find him with the help of a young girl named Miette.

This is an odd, odd movie (I saw it a long time ago and forgot how strange it was), but a beautifully made one with a nice friendship at its core between One and Miette.  In fact, Judith Vittet, as Miette, pretty much carries the movie, in my opinion.  She’s strong and intelligent while also managing to be sympathetic and vulnerable.

My biggest problem with the movie is that it gets bogged down in the weird world of the mad scientist and the characters surrounding him.  It seems like some of that could have been trimmed so the focus could be more on One and Miette.  Some of the weirdness just seemed to be weird for weirdness sake, without having any real point or purpose.

Still, it’s a good looking movie with some surprisingly good special effects and camera work.  It’s certainly never dull to look at, even if my interest in the action wavered at times.  The dream sequences in particular are very well done, with a bizarre surrealism that I think most people can relate to, especially if you can remember any dreams you had as a child.

This movie is not for everyone, that’s for sure.  But, if you don’t mind the odd, dark imagery, the strange characters, and the creepy plot, it can prove to be a very enjoyable film.

10 – 2 for those moments where the strangeness seemed pointless – .8 for what I thought was a somewhat disappointing resolution + .3 for the One/Miette friendship = 7.5