A Cat in Paris (aka Une vie de chat) review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
By day Dino is the beloved pet of Zoë, a girl who has fallen silent since the brutal murder of her father by gangsters, by night he is an accomplish to a cat burglar. All is going well until one night Zoë decides to follow her feline friend and stumbles upon a dangerous gangsters plot in the process.
At first glance this French animation looks to be sweet and entertaining, if not for children then for nostalgic adults; however the simplicity of A Cat in Paris is so much so that it leaves the film feeling somewhat underused.
In a world used to the delicacy and beauty of Japanese anime or the vibrancy of Disney/Pixar the sketchy pastel coloured world of A Cat in Paris is a little bland. The characters look featureless and expressionless whilst the story isn’t really used as successfully as it could have been.
Many other critics have been particularly scathing about the overall narrative, banding around harsh words like unimaginative and unoriginal; yet I am inclined to disagree, as the story, although basic and clearly not one to stretch the creative muscles, is sweet and has something classic in its feel. The cat and owner relationship is timeless whilst the hints of darkness and trauma in the form of the gangsters and the murder of the child’s father are enough of a nod at the complexities of childhood emotion that I was quite tickled.
I was not moved however, as with the animation the characterization and development within the narrative is fairly bland and as such I struggled to really be wrapped up in the story, characters, humour and emotion.
At only 70 minute A Cat in Paris had the potential to be a sweet and distinctly French family movie, but its lack of depth and the jarring American dubbing (with both British and American voices) the film’s sweetness is spoilt and over ridden. An Oscar nominee, A Cat in Paris is a poor representation of what French animation can do.