Metropia Poster

Metropia (2009)

Animation | Mystery | Thriller
Rayting:   6.3/10 7.5K votes
Country: Sweden | Denmark
Language: English
Release date: 27 November 2009

A complex story of a misaligned man, though good intent, creating a nightmarish Dystopian existence.

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

jjcolosi 20 August 2014

The film uses an animation technique not unlike a photographic quality South Park. That technique is visually interesting but eventually cripples the narrative because no one can move very fast or even effectively turn their heads. Everyone seems to be wearing a neck brace. And in the few "action" sequences, characters only shuffle a little more quickly than usual, like crabs rushing from the next wave.

The dialog is particularly frustrating. The characters in this movie are determined not to convey any information with words. You might as well watch without the sound because no one is able to construct a complete sentence. The protagonist in particular stumbles over his words in a way that just gets tedious after a while.

There are really no significant science fiction ideas either. The film ends where it began. It's a shame too because the performances are fine, and obviously a lot of work went into the animation. But there was nothing here for me. And since I put in my 2 hours, I'm compelled to tell others that it was wasted in my opinion.

imdb-19548 28 June 2011

I kept waiting for something interesting to happen but it never did.

It is an anti-capitalist fairy-tale set in the near future.

The animation style is unusual and original but no one seems to have noticed that different is always the same as good. You have some photo-realistic parts, mostly the faces, coupled with animated parts but neither is done well. In the animated parts any movement, walking in particular, looks like those 1950s cartoons where everything is jerky, more like the movement of a puppet than a person, maybe this is an intentional style but it just looks badly drawn. In the photo-realistic parts they are just realistic enough to make their flaws seem bigger, the faces look excellent when not moving but when they should be showing facial expressions they look dead, and this is distracting in a way that normal animation isn't.

The plot is rubbish; a dull, unimaginative and unoriginal story with nothing to recommend it.

The pace is really slow, this might be because 10 minutes of plot is being stretched into a whole film.

The characters have little personality and what they have isn't likable.

I like dark films, I like sci-fi, I like animation and yet I honestly could not find a single thing to like in this film.

scott-897-142923 14 November 2010

One gets accustomed to certain styles of animation, not to mention certain themes. It's either for kids or adults, and it's either 2D or 3D. Of course there are exceptions but for the sake of simplicity, this Manichean duality dominates the market. It's rare that a film emerges that challenges these notions but Tarik Saleh's Metropia does that in fairly interesting ways. The style is an bit of a mash-up between 2 and 3 D - the frames are digitally composited from head shots that have been stretched and squashed then placed on smallish bodies creating creepy caricatures of the actors being photographed. The effect, visually, is of the puppetry in a Thunderbirds (or Supercar) episode as designed by Drew Friedman, with a heavy dose of dark Gilliam"esquire." despair. The animation is stiff, stylized and intentionally rough and jerky. Metropia is not super deep at it core, but it reminds me of the Heavy Metal comics I used to devour when I was a teenager, and that's not at all bad.

It's 2024, the world is running out of oil, and Europe has been connected via a huge subway system. The skies are always gray and it rains all the time. Roger, our protagonist, a bald, hydrocephalic, stoop-shouldered everyman, is afraid to take the metro because he has been hearing voices. He lives with his girlfriend who seems to always be on another planet. One morning, Roger is forced to take the metro because his bike (which he was using illegally anyway) has been destroyed. Sure enough, he begins to hear voices, a voice that has been seeping into his life away from the Metro, on top of everything. On that fateful subway ride, he sees Nina, the spitting image of the girl on his shampoo bottle - a shampoo called Dangst, if that gives any clue as to the relative depth of the film in question. On impulse - despite the urging of the voice in his head - Roger follows Nina, and discovers the world, not far beneath the surface, is not quite what it seems.

As I mentioned, the concepts are pretty thin. The requisite global corporate conspiracy, the rampant consumerism in a dysfunctional dystopia, and the soul-dead protagonist in a souls dead world, are requisite tropes for a film like this. Of course, They have been executed more competently, and in more depth, elsewhere, but the strength of Metropia is its visuals. It is animated for a reason. To that end, the spare, creepy animation style suits the film perfectly. By now, whiz-bang 3D animations are the norm, the rule, so it's at first disconcerting to see animation used so sparingly, minimally and strangely. But this is the point. The world has had all the life and energy sucked out of it, it's no wonder there's not much energy left for the inhabitants of said world. The familiar grey palette allows for even the most subdued tan coat and blonde hair of Nina's to stand out. This lack of movement is also a symbol of conformity. Literally, don't stand out.

Despite its familiar themes, Metropia is worth screening for the simple marriage of form and function it represents. It's a brave filmmaker, who, in this age of Avatar, chooses to make a quiet, simple, creepy film. Saleh, gives us a film, not breathtaking in it's scope, or necessarily ground breaking (except for what it doesn't strive to achieve: mindless spectacle) but calm, understated and worthy, for serious fans of animation, and the brand of sci if familiar to fans of Heavy Metal (the magazine, not the movie).

MdlndeHond 1 May 2010

It's a story somewhere in the lines of 1984. Dystopian is a genre in itself and it's part of the New World Order conspiracy which has been the theme of many cinema and literature since the 50ies. So yes the core of the story is an old one and all has to come from the graphics, characters and small storyline differences.

In that aspect it's not a masterpiece but it is surely nothing to sneeze at. The animation is very okay. The characters are very average human beings which makes them easy to relate to and likable. The fact that the story is not completely new is not disturbing. Very much worth watching.

Samiam3 31 December 2010

Take a trip to Europe in the year 2024. This is a dark age, where the automobile is no longer in use, replaced by a cross country subway system. The most popular product on the market (in fact pretty much the only item) is a shampoo manufactured with a secret mind controlling chemical, which the major corporations use to monitor the public in George Orwell fashion.

In an age where animation can do anything, the decision to do almost nothing certainly stands out in film. Metropia is without doubt the bleakest animated feature I know; a murky institutional world, without a drop of color or sunshine, and everywhere we go is under lit. This makes enough sense when taking into account that this is a future where society is low on energy.

Not everything however feels credible. The absence of people in great numbers is unusual. The few people who do wander in and out of frame are almost hollow shells. They have no soul, but more importantly they have no movement. Metropia uses the least amount of energy possible to give life to illustrations. To attempt to describe it is not impossible, but it's something that is better off seen for ones self. Metropia is a haunting experience. It's almost a ghost world, not just from the absence of sight, but from the absence of sound. Metropia makes effective use of silence in all the right places, accompanied by an effective, very new age score.

As for the storyline, it is familiar, but not painfully so. It's similar to Brazil, which itself is the product of George Orwell's influence. The climax here feels a bit rushed, and easy, leaving Metropia a bit shorter than I think it should've been, but it remains an entertaining experiment.

soncoman 8 November 2009

I just screened this in advance of its showing at the San Francisco International Animation Festival. It's an interesting film, more for its technique than its narrative. Set in the not-to-distant future in a VERY bleak world, it tells the story of one man's fight against an evil corporation's machinations. Nothing really new narrative-wise, but the plot really isn't the point of this film. It's the animation. The process uses photomontage as its basis, and is quite creepy in its execution. The voice work is well done, and it's always good to see/hear cult film fave Udo Kier. If you enjoyed "1984" or "Brazil," you might want to check this film out.

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