Like Blade Runner with a baguette under its arm, Christian Volckman's cartoon imagines Paris in 2054 as a dystopian horror show of giant tenements, evil corporations, and funky futuristic cars. We see this world through the eyes of Karras (Daniel Craig), your basic maverick cop, as he investigates the disappearance of a beautiful and brilliant scientist. During his investigation Karras hooks up with the missing girl's sister (Catherine McCormack) and does a lot of broody-faced smoking. It's that kind of film.
While it borrows from any number of science-fiction classics, Renaissance has a look and feel all of its own. This is a film noir in the most literal sense, defined entirely by jet-black shadows. Along with Sin City, it is perhaps the purest evocation of comicbook visuals yet seen in a cinema. It's a pleasure to watch, and the architectural vistas of Paris in 2054, with its glass-covered Metro stations and vertiginous stacks of decaying tenements, are very beautiful. Shame about the script though. There's little in the content to match director Christian Volckman's dazzling visuals. He fills the screen with diamond-edged reflections and shocking black-white contrasts - the close-up shots of ageing faces border on abstract art - but there's no metaphorical depth to inform the eye-candy. The missing scientist plot is a familiar set-up, and the film jumps cheerfully into every hard-boiled movie cliché like a child splashing into puddles.
"THE PUREST EVOCATION OF COMICBOOK VISUALS"
Matters are not helped by an English dub which, despite the high-powered cast, feels stiff and unconvincing. Jonathan Pryce in particular is a pathetic villain, all smarm and high-pitched cackles.