I LOST MY BODY / CERT: 12A / DIRECTOR: JÉRÉMY CLAPIN / SCREENPLAY: JÉRÉMY CLAPIN, GUILLAUME LAURANT / STARRING: DEV PATEL, ALIA SHAWKAT, GEORGE WENDT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
"Do you believe in fate?" From the pages of novel Happy Hand, and after spending way too long in production limbo, director Jérémy Clapin is here to thankfully bring the work of respected author Guillaume Laurant to life with his already award-winning animation, I Lost My Body. As an escaped and accident-prone severed hand dances its way through the stream-like rhythm of daily structure, we engage in a parallel story that also focuses on Naoufel (Patel), a tired pizza delivery driver that is thirsty for a more significant existence. His mundane routine spins on its head when he is unintentionally late for his fast-food drop off to sharp-minded Gabrielle (Shawkat), and after their initial, sound-only conversation, he obsessively charms his way into her being.
Pegging a story that visits landmark scars in Naofel's life, we often get veered into horrific, black and white situations, but these are required viewing when it comes to building and understanding his character make-up. The way he tries to win over the affection of Gabrielle is another one of the main narrative engines, and as he nervously prances around her every sentence, to try and decipher her coding, the chemistry between them becomes an intriguing watch. This constant quench for approval decorates the plot.
The depth that has gone into every single frame of I Lost My Body showcases an eclectic vision that should not only be noted but celebrated because the heightened skill captured on screen here will surely influence upcoming animators for an eternity to come. Based on erratic and wild movements, the reactions of the hand to every situation that it encounters is just a delight to watch. We get a colourful and survivalist movement as the animators behind I Lost My Body pit this damaged hand against escalators, trains, dogs and much more. It's a performance that goes on to become a defining piece of this puzzle.
For a reasonably short film, it still holds an uncluttered script that gives its characters space to breathe, and while dreamy scenes add to the outcome, the ingredients mesh well with the calm and thoughtful mannerisms of the protagonist, Naofel. Giving an immersive feel to your surroundings we get a stomping soundtrack that tends to dip into Interstellar (the film) territory and all in all it's another factor that helps the seriousness of this Netflix gem shine through.
Thematically, I Lost My Body is an output that challenges its audience to do something different, even if it's just a little bit, it wants you to break out of that usual repeated format, and shape your own fate. Revolving around a meaningful message, and a rewarding pace, this engaging animated feature boldly pushes the boundaries of creative ability.