Consuming Spirits (2012)
Christopher Sullivan's animated dystopia is about as far from a cartoon-for-kids as they come. Relationships among the three main characters - Earl Gray, Gentian Violet, and Victor Blue - multiply and divide as their stories becomes increasingly complex, hilarious, and scary. The Huffington Post writes of the film's "insanely meticulous construction" and continues: "The animation took 15 years of work... The characters were hand-drawn onto layers of glass which were then moved with needles and pins. The film seamlessly combines cutout animation, pencil drawing, collage, and stop-motion animation to create the haunting atmosphere of a self-contained world... (most of whose) characters walk shakily between self-medication and a bad trip... ugly characters (who) make up the most beautiful spectacle you've ever seen." … More
as Earl Gray
as Gentian Violet
as Victor Blue
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Critic Reviews for Consuming Spirits
Frame by frame, sketch by sketch, Sullivan has created a rich and layered world in "Consuming Spirits," one that won't easily let you go.
Something more coherent, masterful - and oddly poignant - than it may initially seem.
Akin to the Disney version of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. Consuming Spirits has moonshine on its rotten breath, but its images are never less than intoxicating.
"Consuming Spirits" puts a hook in you and doesn't let you off. A hook the size of a crowbar.
An ambitious animated epic that runs well over two hours and sometimes feels more like a feat than a film. Nevertheless, it's a kind of milestone in its genre.
Even if one grows impatient with the film's dovetailing tales of small-town desperation, it's hard to tire of its visual execution.
It is the story of people in a small ordinary town, knowing nothing but their ordinary affairs, revealing their sins and crimes with an ordinary negligence.
The most creative film of the year: a striking, one-of-a-kind, hilarious dystopian epic of animated weirdness.
Fifteen years in the making, Chris Sullivan's Consuming Spiritsis the work of his lifetime -- or any lifetime, for that matter.
Sullivan pulls the narrative noose tight at long last, and wraps up "Consuming Spirits'' as neatly as a Victorian novel - albeit one written by someone with an alarming affinity for the grotesque.
In its final half-hour, it pulls all the threads together, and a breathtaking bigger picture finally comes into focus.
This labor of love from do-it-all animator Chris Sullivan has the same rough-edged, cantankerous charms as the characters that populate it.
The regret-tinged film displays a distinctive voice and will be embraced by devotees of offbeat animation.
At a time when animation is expected to be computer-generated, three-dimensional and relentlessly upbeat, Mr. Sullivan's film is flat, handmade and melancholy, a dark and painful fantasy for grown-ups.
The effect is that of disjointed, haunted reverie, of alternate realities colliding, soundtracked by mumbled asides and an uneasy murmur of background noise.
The interweaving stories of commercialized religion, rancid Americana and alcoholic wretches start wearing thin around the movie's midpoint; by the end, the whole morose endeavor risks becoming downright threadbare.
Consuming Spirits is overlong. A dystopian T.S. Eliot once said, "Humankind cannot bear too much reality," maybe even in a cartoon.
Not only a monstrous visual achievement, but one of the most uniquely humanistic animated features of all time.
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