Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Movie with Abe: Ruben Brandt, Collector

© Ruben Brandt LLC, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Ruben Brandt, Collector
Directed by Milorad Krstic
Released December 7, 2018

Each year, the race for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature includes standard fare that serves as appealing entertainment for children and is, occasionally, decently enjoyable for adults as well. In addition to mainstream movies, foreign entries with considerable prestige often make the cut thanks to tremendous international acclaim. Bending visual possibilities using animation is commonplace in such films, and it’s always interesting to see what more mature themes end up as the inspiration for these less standard and distinctively original projects bolstered by their placement on the Oscar eligibility list.

Ruben Brandt (Iván Kamarás) is a psychotherapist who has disturbing dreams about being attacked by famous works of art. A patient, Mimi (Gabriella Hámori) happens to be a professional thief, and she puts together a team to steal a number of the paintings, hoping to help Ruben conquer his fears by taking possession of them. As Ruben struggles to get through the night and his art collection grows, the thefts attract the attention of an American private investigator, Mike Kowalski (Csaba Márton), hired to stop Mimi whose intent on carrying out his job matches her delight at illegally attaining each work of art.

This is a concept that is difficult to describe in words because of the deep reliance it has on images. Ruben’s time spent sleeping is just as vivid, if not more so, than the hours he finds himself awake, wrestling with demons that literally come alive from a two-dimensional canvas. Mimi’s escapades are even more colorful, as she treats her robberies as a craft, almost dancing around each museum as she evades Kowalski and gets away with yet another thrilling heist. It sounds like wondrous, sweeping choreography, though it’s often just as dizzying as it is meant to be mesmerizing and intoxicating.

This film comes from Hungary, though all of its dialogue is in English. It is undeniably interesting, but also prone to getting swept up in each of its moments rather than following a more comprehensible and coherent narrative. Ruben is an intriguing protagonist, but its more substantial characters are Mimi and Kowalski, who share a similar energy despite their placements firmly on opposite sides of the law. Seeing the world through their eyes and as presented in this adventurous lens is an experience, though one that truly does boggle the mind as much as it rewards it.


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