Idiots And Angels

Idiots And Angels


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The concept of reluctant angels in film is nothing new. Bill Plympton's storyline is redolent of the likes of Mervyn Peake's Mr Pye - who grew wings when he performed saintly acts and horns when he was nasty. Plympton does, however, add a twist, since his central protagonist is a total misanthrope, who despite his nefarious ambitions, can't stop his inner angel showing itself.

But if the storyline is treading over some old ground, Plympton's animation gives it a fresh lease of life. He has a flowing style of drawing which leads the eye through each scene and into the next in infinitely inventive ways. The bathroom morphs into breakfast which in turn shifts shape into a road, drinks are seen from angles cameras rarely reach, while the pastel colouring contrasts nicely with the film's dark themes.

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Eschewing the need for narration, the story is presented in purely visual terms, but since the concept - a man who finds himself doing good despite his baser instincts - is a simple one it requires little explanation. As the central protagonist goes about his daily mooching - clobbering the local songbird with his alarm clock, lusting after the pub barmaid and trafficking guns - Plympton fleshes out the fella's follies. But he is not the only one with a negative agenda. Soon after he sprouts wings, other people show signs of wanting to get in on the action - from a barman on a terror spree to make his place the only game in town to the devious doctor who wants some wings of his own.

Although this is, in part, a darkly comic exploration of man's inhumanity to man, there is a current of optimism, flowing like the artwork, beneath the story. Our reluctant angel may want to steal things but it seems his wings have other ideas and it isn't long before they begin to teach him a thing or two - although this argument is never presented in a moralistic way. Delightful devilment for adults only.

Reviewed on: 20 May 2008
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Idiots And Angels packshot
The story of a reluctant angel turns into a flight of the imagination.

Director: Bill Plympton

Writer: Bill Plympton

Year: 2008

Runtime: 78 minutes

Country: US

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