4.19.2010

A Town Called Panic - Movie Review

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A Town Called Panic
****-

Some people have the right idea when it comes to their toys. Some people take their toy soldiers and simply throw them in the microwave to see what happens, perhaps while making gruesome noises on their behalf. Meanwhile there are those other types who then take the melted soldiers out and continue to play, seeing that somehow the game is just better this way. Often they're right. I have the feeling that St├ęphane Aubier and Vincent Patar are these kind of guys. Their film A Town Called Panic, or Panique Au Village (yes, this is a foreign film), is essentially a collection of scenarios in which they place their central characters from one household appliance to another, just nearly melting them before throwing them into a freezer and then finishing off by tossing them into a dishwasher.

The story is centered around three roommates, Indian, Cowboy, and Horse, who, with the exception of Horse, each move across their frantic town on small plastic platforms. Think of it as Toy Story if none of the toys knew that they were existing within a deranged mind of a child. As it turns out, it's Horses birthday, and this, if you can't tell by the title, throws Indian and Cowboy into a panic. Instead of opting to buy another novelty hat, they instead decide to build a grill but run into a snag however when, after sneaking onto Horses computer, they mistakenly order 50 million bricks rather than 50. And so the true panic begins.

The real comedy magic in a Town Called Panic mostly occurs when the viewer attempts to grasp what exactly they're watching. These are simply inanimate objects being moved around and spoken for, without even the need for animating moving mouths or expressions. With this, there isn't much separation from the fact that someone is always behind the camera, and the fact that this person is seemingly in control of the absurdity makes the film all the more absurd.

With that said, after an hour the viewer will be screaming to separate themselves from the screen long enough just to get a breath of fresh air from the ever-constant havoc. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but something can be said for how successful the film is in segments. I have the feeling that just walking in to the movie at any point during it's duration would be extremely satisfying. As a whole however, I can safely say it's an experience that won't be forgotten.

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