MSRP: $18.99
RUNNING TIME: 86 Minutes

  •           My Tribeca Story
  •           On the Red Carpet With Metropia


The Pitch:

Animated dystopian Mumblecore where everyone looks like crack-headed owls.

The Humans:  

Director: Tarik Saleh
Writers: Tarik Saleh, Stig Larssen and Fredrik Edin
Cast: The Voices of Vincent Gallo, Juliette Lewis, Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgard and Alexander Skarsgard

After the dismal sales of his new record, Moby was starting to realize that this
call center job was looking a lot less temporary.

The Nutshell

In a future with no oil, a soft spoken drone named Roger hums along through his life on autopilot. Except on his way to work one day he starts hearing a voice in his head that isn’t his own, giving him unsolicited advice and leading him out of his comfort zone and into a vast government conspiracy aimed at nothing less than world domination.

The Lowdown

This movie is really hard to hate on simply because of how original the animation style is, but I find it hard to give it a pass because of it’s unrelenting dullness, it’s paint-by-numbers plot and voiceover work that sounds like it was recorded at an N.A. meeting.  But mostly it’s very, very pretty.  The film’s biggest problem is that it has about twenty minutes worth of plot that it stretches out for almost an hour and a half which makes me think this must have started out life as a short somewhere.


The plot actually sounds a lot better when you are explaining it to someone as opposed to sitting there watching the damn thing.  In the year 2024 the bottom has fallen out of Europe’s oil supply and a giant subway system has been built linking all of Europe together; essentially erasing all borders.  In Stockholm, a painfully awkward phone center employee named Roger falls in love with the image of a beautiful woman on his shampoo bottle.  While taking the subway to work, Roger sees the woman from the bottle, Nina, (Juliette Lewis) and a voice in his head tells him to follow her and, inexplicably, he does.  Nina leads Roger into a world of shadowy government conspiracies, terrorist bombings and trigger-happy thugs and Roger happily goes along for the ride, which is one of the things that makes Roger so problematic as a character and so uninvolving as the lead: he’s completely passive for the entire film. Roger gets led from one scene to another, rarely making a decision for himself and getting suckered at almost every turn.  The coolest idea of the whole film is definitely the giant subway, but it’s never used to any effect that furthers the story or warrants it’s inclusion in the first place. The film definitely has some incredible pieces to it, but nothing ever congeals to create a concise vision of this world.

Terry Gilliam sued the makers of Metropia for dream infringement.

The voice acting in the film was so frustratingly quiet that I had to watch the whole movie with the volume remote in my hand just to counter the fluctuating tones.  Vincent Gallo mumbles or half stutters so many of his lines it seems like he’s auditioning for an episode of Dr. Katz.  When your lead character looks like the Dean from Community and sounds like fucking Vincent Gallo then at least don’t make him so passive that he comes across as an ineffectual loser the entire film. Juliette Lewis sounds like she’s trying to emote through a mouthful of bees. Her voice is filled with such a lack of delivery it made me wonder whether she did the whole film from bed or during a mild bowel movement. Udo Kier barely registers with his briefly seen character but when he talks you’re like “Udo Fucking Kier!” and it’s all good. The true bright spot of the voice-over work is Alexander Skarsgard who takes his True Blood voice and divides it by his Generation Kill voice equaling one of the very few exciting things in the entire film.


I hate to be so hard on a movie that very clearly is trying to do something new with the (slightly?) stale dystopian animation genre, but something so innovative shouldn’t be so boring.  I wanted to hang off every frame; savoring the mood and tone set by it’s visuals, but the standardized plot and drowsy voice acting made it really hard to care. I want Metropia 2 to do more than just fuck my eyes; I want it to fuck my heart.

The Package

There are only two very short behind the scenes featurettes on the disc. The first is My Tribeca Story which is just the director talking about how he promised he’d never do animation and then recapping the plot of the movie for concisely.  The second is On the Red Carpet With Metropia, a slightly more interesting featurette where the director discusses the new animation style he helped invent for the film and then walks the red carpet at the Tribeca film festival.  It kind of feels like an ad for American Express and the Festival but it wasn’t as gratuitous as it could have been.

6.5 out of 10