Eye For Film >> Movies >> Albatross Soup (2018) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
A man walks into a restaurant, sits down at a table and orders albatross soup. When the soup is served he eats one mouthful of it, then shoots himself in the head. If you are given only yes or no answers, how long will it take you to work out why the man killed himself?
The thing about riddles, of course, is that they're never as logical as they pretend - there can be any number of answers that fit (maybe the soup was just that bad) but one has to arrive at the riddler's answer. This presents the riddler as an omniscient figure, and sound recordist Alexandra Young uses ambient noise to separate the voice actor playing this role from the group of people trying to solve the riddle in Winnie Cheung's animated short. Whilst ostensibly focused on unravelling the riddle itself, the film is at least as interested is the techniques people use in approaching it.
These strategies are undoubtedly influenced by the group dynamic, several participants making jokes to give the impression of wit, perhaps masking the fact that they're unsure how to start solving the problem. Some approach it intuitively, throwing out wild questions in an unstructured way but narrowing down the possibilities surprisingly quickly based on the answers they receive. Nobody really goes about it fficiently but had they done so this would have been a shorter and less interesting film.
As the story develops, part detective work and part embellishment, Masayoshi Nakamura's vibrant hand-drawn artwork - based on illustrations by Fiona Smyth - evolves in a fluid, dizzying fashion, playfully drawing out different themes. Its vivid colours and the story's grotesque dénouement will give this film a lot of appeal to a certain sort of child, and there's plenty of room to enjoy it simply as a story without going into greater depth.
As a top marine predator, the albatross is prone to a build up of heavy metals in its tissues and is not a good choice for a healthy meal. This film, however, combines intellectual nourishment with plenty of flavour.Reviewed on: 04 May 2019