A Town Called Panic, or “Panique Au Village” if you are looking to impress your date, is a riotous little film based upon the popular characters of the Belgian animated series of short animations
The trio of main characters consists of Horse (Cheval) as the paternal figure, with Indian
(Indien) and Cowboy (apparently Cowboy is french for Cowboy!) in the roles of sibling rivals. The frantic search to find a last minute birthday gift for Horse is the cataclysmic event that sets off a chain reaction of insane plot twists that exposes the viewer to all of the essential elements of a great story. Mystery lurks everywhere as unknown nocturnal thieves create havoc for our heroes. Drama is found in the struggle to return home from a treacherous journey through surreal landscapes that are at times reminiscent of Lewis Carol
‘s “Through the Looking Glass
“. The blossoming romance between Horse and his mechanically inclined music teacher, the lovely Madame Longray, is the type of stuff that mushy Hollywood
love stories are made of. And comedy is undeniably the foundation of any film where an overdriven conveyor belt becomes a makeshift pig launching machine gun. Additionally, the graceless, staccato movements of the pronounced stop motion animation
only highlights the demented playfulness inherent in the characters of the film.
While the film is entirely in french, which maybe a challenge to those of us who don’t remember much of it from high school (or skipped the class entirely), the subtitles still flow somewhat smoothly. Considering that a large element to the story is in the overall visual ambience of colorful landscapes, and the rampant physical comedy, not much of the dialogue is lost in translation.
3 out of 5 stars.
The story is entertaining, and not too predictable, with a touch of that special kind of craziness that only can be found in Europe
. If your kids are weird they will like it a lot.
Subtitles sometimes make it a bit of a chore to keep up with the dialogue. If you’re trying to impress your date, unless she is kind of weird, this probably isn’t the movie to take her to.
A Town Called Panic
is now showing at the UICA.
2/26 Friday – 12:00, 4:30, 9:00 PM
2/27 Saturday – 12:00, 4:30, 9:00 PM
2/28 Sunday – 12:00, 4:30 PM
3/1 Monday – Closed
3/2 Tuesday – 9:00 PM
3/3 Wednesday – 9:00 PM
3/4 Thursday – 9:00 PM