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DVD Review

DVD cover

Film Noir


Starring (voice): Mark Keller, Bettina Devin, Roger Jackson and Jeff Atik
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 18
Available 16 February 2009

It starts like a poor joke, or even a bad dream. A man wakes up to find a dead body, obviously shot through the head, the problem is this man has no idea who he is. Through a series of lucky breaks he discovers that he is a private investigator called David Hudson, but knowing who you are and why everybody wants you dead are two different things. As David reconnects with people he knows he doesn’t like what he finds, but still even if he is a violent sadist it still leaves the mystery of why everyone wants him dead. David navigates the dark underbelly of Los Angeles to find the answers in the hope of finding himself...

Film Noir (2007 - 1 hr, 36 min) is a very entertaining slice of 3D animation directed by D. Jud Jones and Risto Topaloski from a script by Jones. The film uses shading to create its 3D effect, so no funny glasses are required. The film is about as far from Disney as you can get with its themes of violence, sex and drug addiction.

America doesn’t really have a tradition of making this sort of movie, unlike Japan which has been making adult animation for a long time. The film is predominantly presented in black and white with splashes of colour to accentuate individual elements in the frame. There is also a blending of animation and live action footage which works well for the most part, adding to the overall sense of reality.

The score is near perfect for this film with a very laid back jazz track, full of mournful saxophone and muted trumpet. Mark Keller created the score and also stars as the voice of David, who he presents as a man of quiet intensity, which is tonally perfect for the character.

Okay, so the animation voice acting and animation are all top notch, but what about the story? It sucks you straight in, the clever construction keeps you guessing all the way as we follow our hero in his quest for identity. The narrative does have a habit of dipping in and out of the genres clichés, but then that's what pretty much killed it off in the first place. 

The crisp picture is presented in 1.77:1 aspect ration with a 5.1 audio track. On the extras side you get an interview with the director D. Jud Jones (5 min), History of Film Noir with a short synopsis about the stages the film went through before they decide to make it in 3D, with colour, Included in this segment is the first fifteen minutes of the film in its original 2D. And lastly we get a look at an audio recording session, including Mark Kellor’s song for the credits.

This film would be impressive from a major studio, from an independent its nothing short of a miracle that it got made. If you’re in the mood for a sexy, stylish slice of animated film noir then this should be right up your street.


Charles Packer

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