Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Cast: Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, Judith Vittet, Dominique Pinon
Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet teamed up to direct one of most visually stunning horror films in recent memory. The City Of Lost Children is the tale of mad scientist Krank, who is aging at an accelerated rate due to the fact that he can no longer dream. Krank builds an army of ‘cyclops’ to kidnap the cities children in the hopes of claiming the children’s dreams as his own, thus reversing the accelerated aging. Krank makes a fatal error when his gang of one eyed freak shows kidnap Denree, who just so happens to have a very big, strong brother; One. One (Ron Perlman) sets out to find his little brother, and in the process brings Krank’s maniacal system to a screeching halt.
This is (as previously stated) hands down, one of the most visually stunning films on the public market. The settings are absolutely brilliant, and the frequent usage of low lighting and thick fog create an uncanny sense of dread. The film work is genuinely eerie, and the effects are neatly polished. The setting is a small harbor town, and the sets are far beyond believable enough to carry the viewer into Caro and Jeunet’s imaginative, and frightening realm.
Ron Perlman provides an excellent performance in the lead role of One; the not so smart strong man for the local fair who‘s brother has been kidnapped. Perlman infuses a perfect blend of naivety, frustration and passion as the less-than-intelligent, and semi-unlikely hero. Daniel Emilfork is haunting as the villainous Krank, and Judith Vittet displays an incredible knack for acting despite the youngsters inexperience. Dominique Pinon is stellar as Krank’s handy clones, and the burden of portraying 20 plus characters (albeit the same one…if you know what I mean) seemed to go unnoticed by the genre veteran. Genevieve Brunet and Odile Mallet round out the list of memorable characters as “The Octopus”, a deranged and greedy set of Siamese twins.
The faults are few, in fact I could make the claim that the only issue with this film is a slight ripple in translation from time to time. Aside from that, the surroundings, dialog, special effects and screenplay are marvelous. A list of accomplished actors and actresses bring the film together seamlessly, and the screenplay is chilling. This is, in my opinion one of the best horror films in existence. The fact that The City Of Lost Children has already earned cult classic status is no surprise. If you haven’t yet seen the film, go watch it, and send me a thank you e-mail later.