Picasso, Perfect Animation, and Pure Thrills-All for the Price of One.
The freedom of animation in “Ruben Brandt, Collector” is the inspiration from many of the world’s finest painters, mostly Pablo Picasso. Most of the people in this world are deformed by either having 4 eyes, 2 noses, 2 faces on opposite sides, big mouths, or demons for crying tongues. I was sitting in my seat with awe and flexibility.
The narrative and tone of the movie is part fantasy thriller, part crime drama, and 1/4 comedy. And with the right animators and computer graphers, you’re able to see the pure fantasy linked to all these genres.
The following characters are voiced by no celebs, but once you hear them, you know they sound like celebs. The first character is the title character Ruben Brandt (voiced by Ivan Kamaras), an art collector, who, ever since his father’s funeral, has been haunted by the famous paintings (from Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis to Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus), which he thinks come to life to attack him.
His latest client is the beautiful stunt double and kleptomaniac Mimi (voiced by Gabriella Hamori), who steals a Cleopatra paper fan from the Louvre, instead of the valuable diamond she was hired to take. Ruben believes that the only way to contain his fears is to have his art team and Mimi steal the famous paintings.
His art team includes Bye Bye George (voiced by Matt Devere), who wears 2 sunglasses for his 4 eyes; Membrano Bruno (voiced by Henry Grant), a 2-dimensional (flat as paper) robber (reason: his mother was 3-D and his father was 1-D); and the 2-nosed computer guy Fernando (voiced by Christian Niels Buckholdt).
And finally, we meet Mike Kowalski (voiced by Casaba Marton, sounding a lot like Bobby Cannavale), a detective, out to crack the case of the missing paintings. His first clue is his suspect Mimi, and his next clues send him on a dangerous track.
“Ruben Brandt, Collector” is a dazzling, unusual, and imaginative animated feature that spoofs the art world, and brings the paintings to life in a Picasso-sort-of-way. I know I said “Picasso” a lot, but the whole thing looks like a Picasso paintings. People are deformed, and chase and fight sequences look nearly impossible in real life. And yet, we’re utterly amazed at how writer/designer/director Milorad Kristic is able to pull this off.
The voice actors are professional in the ways they sound like movie stars and/or cartoon characters, depending on who they voice. Credit for that goes to Kamaras, Hamori, and Marton.
My only two negatives: one childhood flashback scene for Ruben didn’t really match the main character, and the crime story sometimes gets splattered all over the walls. But once you get with the imagination, you see drawings you may or may not have seen before.