S.L.I.F.F. Review: ‘From Inside’
A young, pregnant woman sits on a train, surrounded by passengers yet utterly alone. Ã‚ The train moves through a landscape both barren and surreal. Ã‚ It’s years after an event has destroyed civilization as we know it. Ã‚ The people on the train move with the train, unaware of where their carriage is taking them. Ã‚ The young woman, Cee, watches the passengers, contemplates her life as it is, and waits for her baby to be born into this world.
John Bergin’s animated film, ‘From Inside’, is based on his 1994 graphic novel of the same name. Ã‚ The film is as bleak and surreal as it is beautiful. Ã‚ Every shot of the film is stunning, and it uses the animation provided to the best of its capabilities. Ã‚ Whether we are shown such macabre sights as oceans of blood, train cars turned into slaughterhouses, or people succumbing to a mysterious plague, Bergin’s visuals drive the film’s narrative with a spectacular sense of splendor. Ã‚ Literally every shot captured within ‘From Inside’ could be framed and hung on a wall. Ã‚ It is that beautiful of a film.
It is also a film that could not have captured the same sense of surrealism or eeriness had it been shot live action. Ã‚ I cannot attest to how close to Bergin’s original graphic novel the visuals are. Ã‚ The way the objects and characters move within the film indicate many of the visuals were lifted verbatim. Ã‚ Most of the time the characters are shown unmoving while the shot moves around them, as if we are looking at different parts of a page.
The same goes with the objects, the train in particular, and the way it moves throughout its surroundings. Ã‚ The compositions of Bergin’s shots, particularly those dealing with the train cutting through the landscape, are impeccable.
The story ‘From Inside’ tells is equally radiant. Ã‚ It’s a story of hope and wonder in a world where death and decay are overpowering forces. Ã‚ We hear Cee’s thoughts through a voiceover by Corryn Cummins. Ã‚ She narrates us through the events that play out, through the strange dreams she has in her journey, and around the odd characters she meets and deals with. Ã‚ Cummins voice was the perfect choice. Ã‚ It is rather childlike in its own right, yet full of a forcefulness that tells us Cee will defend herself by any means necessary. Ã‚ Cee’s is the only voice we hear throughout the film, but it never even teases with becoming tedious or numbing.
The only time the film, itself, becomes tedious is in the final moments. Ã‚ I won’t give anything away, but the film reaches its natural end long before the actual film ends. Ã‚ There is a moment where Cee’s sense of hope reaches its peak, where she, herself, comments on the hope she has for the future.
Had Bergin ended the film on that note, it would have very nearly been a perfect story. Ã‚ However, he feels he needs to give some sense of closure that is simply not needed in a story such as this. Ã‚ When something such as hope is a driving force in your film, the need to show closure seems to take that hope away by flat out telling us what does or does not happen.
‘From Inside’ is a visually stunning film that is a must-see. Ã‚ It shows how great animation can drive a story and how a story can be realized perfectly through the use of superbly crafted animation.Ã‚ [Overall: 4.75 stars out of 5]
Festival Screening Date: Sunday, November 23 @ 3:30 pm (Tivoli)