Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Princess - Review by James Martin

Director: Anders Morgenthaler
Screenwriter: Anders Morgenthaler and Mette Heeno
Runtime: 90 minutes
Certificate: N/A
Release date: N/A

Princess is particularly eye-catching because it is a dark, adult animé and certainly not for children. Unlike so many of the slow, saccharine Disney/Pixar outings repetitively churned out ad nauseum these days, it deserves special attention for its unique originality. Reminiscent of Japanese comic book films, for its violence, profane language and sexual references, Princess is mainly animation and about twenty percent live action. Real actors play the three protagonists, which makes the harshness of it hit home all the harder, without the safety net of "oh, it's just a cartoon", to play it down.

August (Christian Tafdrup) is a missionary priest, who comes home to look after Mia (Stine Fischer Christensen) his five-year old niece, after his sister Kristine (Thure Lindhart), an ill-treated call girl, dies from a drug overdose. August's grief turns to anger and he becomes hell-bent on avenging those who dragged his sister into the world of smut. The sole criticism is that at times, the storyline is implausible. A shy, reticent priest can hardly be capable of fending off six macho members of the Danish porn mafia in a restaurant, successfully killing all of them with a handgun. Furthermore, if he is so intent on protecting his adorable little niece, he is unlikely to take her with him in his pursuit of the elusive Charlie, his sister's abusive ex-lover.

Unrealistic scenes in which Mia's stuffed rabbit, Multe comes to life, winking and prancing all over the show, symbolise that despite everything, she is still just an innocent child. Evidence of the emotional trauma this poor child has suffered is her shocking insistence that the other kids in the neighbourhood refer to her as "the whore". Princess is a daring and unusual attempt to reveal how unbalanced a naïve child can be rendered through abuse. Not for the faint hearted.

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