Renaissance can be categorized as a science fiction film noir. It’s animation style and crime story background sets the noir tone of the film. It’s science fiction aspects comes from it’s setting in the year 2054. The movie opens with a dramatic sweeping shot of Paris in the future in a dark crisp animated black and white that’s reminiscent of Blade Runner, but without the neon. We find a brilliant scientist, Ilona Tasuiev, kidnapped outside of a Parisian night club for reasons unknown. Ilona is a valued employee for one of the most powerful companies in the world known as Avalon. Barthélémy Karas, voiced by Daniel Craig, is a hardboiled, shoot first and ask questions later police captain who is assigned to Ilona’s case. He’s got no problem crossing the line in order to solve his cases.
Karas’ investigation leads to his discovery that other people are also on Ilona’s trail, and unfortunately for his investigation there’s a trail of witnesses that keep turning up dead. It seems that Avalon is your stereotypical bad multi-national corporation that’s bent on ruling the world in one way or another. Avalon’s director Dellenbach, voiced by Jonathan Pryce, is bent on getting Ilona back to Avalon to continue on some secret research that will impact everyone alive. I’m not going to ruin anything, but I will say that Dellenbach does survive the end of the film so it should make you wonder how Karas’ investigation ultimately turns out.
Renaissance’s story is more than your basic crime thriller, but it’s its visuals that really keep you attached. The movie is completely animated using a technique called rotoscoping with most of the movie in high contrast black and white, there are a couple scenes that have a hint of color but overall the black and white is very stark, with very little gray. The style of the movie is enhanced by the beauty of the city. The darkness of the shadowing enhances the mystery that the city hides in its alleys and sewers, giving the movie a dark brooding mood.
Renaissance is visually stunning with a good story, unfortunately that’s rare these days. Don’t let the fact that it’s animated turn you off, its visuals will amaze you and you’ll be glad that you watched it. Overall I’d say that Renaissance was done extremely well and should have you mesmerized for an hour and forty-five minutes.