The City Of Lost Children

As a work of the imagination, inflected by Dickens, Disney, and David Lynch’s Dune, this costly 1995 French fantasy by writer-directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro is certainly preferable to their earlier Delicatessen. Yet the emotions seem almost as manufactured as the sets. The occupants of this dank, squalid world (which often recalls Robert Heinlein’s story Universe) include a mad scientist named Krank (Daniel Emilfork), six clones (Dominique Pinon), a disembodied brain (the voice of Jean-Louis Trintignant), various cyclopes and kidnapped children, Siamese twin sisters who run an orphanage/black-market operation, a sideshow strongman with the mind of a child (Ron Perlman), and a nine-year-old girl with the mind of an adult (Judith Vittet). Sadly, the technical logistics seem to have impeded the dreamlike flow a movie like this requires. In French with subtitles. 112 min. (JR)

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