REVIEW: PATEMA INVERTED / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: YASUHIRO YOSHIURA / SCREENPLAY: YASUHIRO YOSHIURA / STARRING: YUKIYO FUJII, SHINYA FUKUMATSU / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s Patema Inverted is a beautifully realised and textured anime that, unlike others, demonstrates a restraint which, in such a crowded genre, is admirable. A deep melancholy and longing underpin the story, which is as expansive as the vast sky looming above. The plot is well-paced, the info dished out at a steady rate, though the film does feel drawn out in places.
The characters, though likeable, are nothing you haven’t seen in a hundred other animes, but they’re easy to warm to and it’s not long before you’re rooting for Patema and Age, floating and falling their way through the Escher-like setting, defying and defining gravity.
The animation is fluid and gorgeous, but it’s more about what’s going on in the background. The environments are exceptionally striking and expertly crafted with softer, more recognisable animation over the top, creating an effective depth, filled with subtle details. The underground settings are reminiscent of both Blade Runner and Zion in the latter parts of the Matrix trilogy and on more than one occasion it conjures Cowboy Bebop.
The standout moments are when the screen rotates, showing the world from a different perspective, and if there’s a message to be taken away from the film it’s one of two things – put yourself in other’s shoes and, as in Firefly, the sky can’t be taken away from you.
The film has a suitably evocative and inspiring score that twists and morphs, sometimes Trent Reznor, other times John Williams, but always a companion to the moving exchanges on screen.
Anime remains a bastion of daring, beautiful and barmy cinema. Could you imagine Hollywood touching a script about inverted people falling from one city into another? It’s at times a coming of age story, a touching and tragic love story and a commentary on totalitarianism. Romeo and Juliet is never far away – just imagine if the Capulets floated.
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10