Tuesday, December 06, 2005

In The Realms of the Unreal (2004) *Viewed Twice*

Most unreal are the girls with little dinkies.


Starring: Henry Darger's Novel, narrated by Dakota Fanning (Charlotte's Web; Man On Fire)

Directed By: Jessica Yu

Overview: Henry Darger, an eccentric recluse of a janitor, had his artistic work discovered while he lay on his deathbed. This is the story of his life and of his 15,000 page novel.

Acting: One of the narrators was very manly and guttural, representative of Darger himself, while another childish voice (Dakota Fanning) read elaborate sentences, which made for an eerie undertone that improved the telling of the story immensely. Very well done.
Rating: 8

The story unfolding before us would not have been anywhere near as exciting had it not been for the fact that the documentarist decided to animate Darger's work as it was read and retold. The way it was laid out in a three-dimensional style made for a much more dynamic film. Nice touch, really.
Rating: 8

The story itself was well told, and frankly, yes there were some slow parts, but the interview editing where they took different people who said the same thing about the man's nature, though possibly contrived, was well done.
Rating: 7

The plot is better than simply the unfolding of a man's life, it's the recounting of the grand novel he wrote and the reason he wrote it. The animated story reflects his own life and this amazing 15,000 page book entitled In The Realms of the Unreal make for a really interesting plot.
Rating: 7

The mood is also great. Haunting narration and those moving images with the backdrop of the 1960s narration of Chicago Public Service Announcements. They really do a good job with this.
Rating: 7

Professorial soldiers shanking little girls, what child WOULDN'T love it!?

Overall Rating: 74% (Nice Mindtrip)

The story is mostly the actual unfolding of the man's novel. I was glad they decided to focus on this, otherwise it could have been pretty bland. That's half the point though. A tale about a lonely, boring recluse, and only near his death do they discover the crazy stuff he's been doing for the last 20 years. This is a very different documentary, and I really enjoyed it.

First Reviewed March 8, 2005. See comments for re-viewed review.