(The Triplets of Belleville)
Ebert:1/2 Rolling Stone:1/2 TV Guide:
minor plot points revealed!
I loved this movie. It's a hilarious little cartoon with weird-cool animation and a dark sense of humor. It was far more entertaining than I expected and I can't wait to see it again.
I knew almost nothing about the movie before I went to see it other than that it was well liked by critics and recently nominated for best animated feature and Best Original Song at the Oscars. I knew it was a French film (I later found out the director is from Montreal) but what I didn't know is that the film has no dialogue. Yes, that's right no dialogue. It seems weird but it totally didn't need any to tell the story and that is a huge cinematic achievement. Finding Nemo was a great movie, and I loved it but honestly, if there was no dialogue it would have been hard to follow and boring. The entire movie hinges on the snappy wit of Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres. Do not be dissuaded now that you know The Triplets of Belleville has no dialogue. I assure you the absence only strengthens the film.
I will summarize the story briefly but I fear that explaining will diminish and further discourage people against it. So even though this sounds boring it's not. I swear this is a really, really good movie. A boy is raised in France by his grandmother to become a major contender in the Tour de France bicycle race. During the race he is kidnapped by gangsters who take him to a New-York-type city called Belleville to forcibly take part in a deadly race that is sponsored by and wagered on by the gangsters. The boy's grandmother and his dog make their way to Bellville and with the help of a trio of aged jazz era performers attempt to rescue the young man.
I know it sounds stupid but so does the plot of almost every film if you really think about it. The film does have a PG-13 rating for some reason. There is a topless woman cabaret dancer for a few seconds at the beginning and there are some images of violence but nothing that seems to merit the PG-13.
I guarantee you will like this film. When I saw it on a Sunday afternoon the entire theater was full of people and their children who laughed out loud and loved every minute of it. It's a quirky delightful film. Seriously.