City of Lost Children is a film I have wanted to watch for a long time… but never got round too. I am a huge fan of co-director Jean Pierre Jeunet’s work and love the style of his films.

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City of Lost Children has a very confusing story which is a little hard to follow but the essence is this: in a post-apocalyptic, steam-punk style universe; a mad scientist who cannot dream kidnaps children and attempts to steal their dreams. However due to the children’s fear he finds they only have nightmares which leads to insanity. Enter ‘One’ (Ron Perlman) a strong man whose brother has been kidnapped; he sets out to rescue his brother alongside the help of a group of orphaned children.

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The film is definitely stylistic and has one of the strangest and most interesting colour schemes in cinema; the film is full of dirty yellows and browns; as well as luminous green water which all adds to its very experimental feel. The camerawork is also extremely experimental with fish-eyed lenses and other distorting effects used throughout, particularly in the dream sequences.

 

As hard as the film is to follow it is also highly enjoyable; watching certain sequences I would say it is a combination of Home Alone (1990) and Oliver Twist set in a Terry Gilliam-style universe. This might sound weird and you would be right but it also highly original, unique and extremely intriguing.

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The main problem I had with the film was the technical side; yes it is extremely experimental and pushes the boundaries as to what could be done – however I believe the low-budget side of the film can be seen and at times it is a little too poorly created that I was drawn out of the film.

 

The film therefore scores as follows:

 

Story – 4/5

Style – 5/5

Technical – 2/5

Enjoyment – 3/5

 

Giving the film a total of score of 14/20 or 7/10.