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Idiots and Angels

Idiots and Angels Directed by: Bill Plympton Cast: none Running Time: 1 hr 20 min Rating: Unrated

32nd Portland International Film Festival Country: US English?: Yes.

Plot: A jerk lives a lonely, meaningless life. Then a pair of wings grow on his back and he finds himself doing good and helping people. But once they appear, others want them.

Who’s It For? Adult fans of animation, especially experimental animation.

Expectations: I remember Plympton's films from MTV back when they still showed animation instead of reality shows about slutty 20-somethings. I expected something interesting and unique.


Bill Plympton's fifth feature length animated film looks like what you'd expect. His style is incredibly distinct, you know it when you see it. An ordinary man in an ordinary house wakes up, takes a shower, drives into town, goes to a bar. This isn't a film about big plot, it's more about little moments. The characters squiggle as if alive. They sit, they dream, their faces stretch and squash like the most outrageous Tex Avery creations. Sitting and watching drawings live is the real thrill of this film.

Plympton chooses to use no voices, the sound comes in the form of whispered bits of songs, human noises (oh, ahs, squawks) and sound effects for objects. But there's no difficulty understanding the story, it's simple and lovely. Unfortunately, the film takes a bit long to get going. The first scenes are pretty, but could establish the story in less time. Once it starts moving it's a good time.

I can't say this is for everyone, it's not your normal idea of animation. And having to think and pay so much attention is tiring. When you don't know where a film will take you, it requires a little more effort from the viewer. But this one pays dividends.

Final Score: 7/10

Best Acting - Entire Cast in 2008 - Vote in TSR Awards

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