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BFI London Film Festival: Phantom Boy – Review

There is a plethora of French movies other than Amelie. And there are people out there who seem to demean foreign language to just their subtitles. There is a definite language barrier when it comes to non-English language movies, confining their brilliance to the independent cinemas and failing to translate movies to their genuine greatness. A lot of people only tune in to foreign movies because there were forced to in language class, there is a lot of gore or they have been dubbed.

With this little repertoire with overseas films, most people miss out on genuine greatness. And this becomes more so with cartoons. A bit of a weird statement if you consider that a lot of animated movies are actually watched with English dubbing, but a lot miss the original childlike nativity and negate the original feel; the wonderment of the animation.

With Phantom Boy, both the dubbed and the subtitled versions have merit because the story is enchanting.

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Phantom Boy revolves around a young boy, Leo, who is stricken by a mysterious illness. However, whilst in hospital, he finds that he can leave his body and saw around New York City, visiting his loved ones and people around him. For limited time only, of course, until he has to scurry back to his body. On his travels, he finds renegade and injured police detective, Alex, confined to a wheelchair. When a deformed gangster named The Face takes control of the city, plunging it’s residents into complete darkness, only Leo’s new power and Alex’s determination can stop devastation from roaming free.

From the filmmakers of A Cat in Paris, a pleasant Oscar nominated shot film, Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol have crafted a sweet and endearing, if a little bit too safe of a family film. The movie has a distinct French style that is stirring with vibrancy and splendor Feeling like a mixture of Picasso and a hefty noir cartoon, Phantom Boy is an overtly original movie with an elegant premise. Capturing New York City in this unique way, the pair of directors have wholly crafted a glorious feature that a sensitive subject against a usual crime caper.

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The heart of the story comes from Leo’s journey’s and his earnestness in wanting to become a police detective. As he soars through the air, the true magic of the feature enchants and the unravelling plot is an enjoyable and great watch. Whilst the plucky young boy triumphs in helping the case and trying to save the city because he wants to be a detective so much.

The US feature has the voices of Jared Paladecki and Vincent D’Onforio to enjoy whilst Audrey Tautou helms the French version. The mysterious and plentiful tale is a remarkable one with a lot of joy and love crafted into it.

Phantom Boy soars.


Phantom Boy is part of the BFI London Film Festival
It hits cinemas on the 21st October

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