A Town called Panic! (2009): A raucous, French, stop-frame animation

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Title: A Town called Panic!
Director: Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar
Starring: Stéphane Aubier, Jeanne Balibar and Nicolas Buysse
Runtime: 75 mins

Reney's Score: 90%

Horse, Cowboy and Indian live on one hill. Horse is the brains of the household, Cowboy and Indian the adolescent creators of chaos. Steve, his wife, his cows and his precious tractor live on the other hill and Steve is permanently pissed off. Whether you ring his doorbell or touch his studio, I mean tractor, you’re gonna get yelled at. Imagine all of this as a French stop-frame animation using little plastic toys that live in a town called Panic!

In a nutshell
It is Horse’s birthday. Cowboy and Indian decide to build him a “braai”. (I kid you not.) For this purpose they need fifty bricks, but as fate would have it, they accidentally order fifty million bricks! On horse’s account! The bigger problem is not how to hide the bill for fifty million bricks from Horse, but the actual fifty million bricks!

Mood of the film
Panicky! Raucous! Over the top.

Best performance
Cowboy wins the Oscar. He carries a gun and lasso, wears cowboy hat and boots, but he still screeches like a banshee at the mere sight of trouble. (Or dons flip-flops, shorts and a Hawaiian-style shirt and books a flight to Miami!)

Stand-out scene
The whole film is one crazy, over-the-top scene after the other. In fact, the scenes follow one another so fast, I had to pause and rewind a few. One I watched three times is Horse coming home late at night. He drives “through” the new braai. The centre strip of the car, including the engine, gets stuck behind the braai. The two sides of the car end up in front of the braai. Horse goes straight over it. It is funnier when you watch it, I promise.

I love any type of animation. The Triplets of Belleville is one of my favourite films ever. Even though it is French, it does not need one subtitle, because there is no spoken dialogue in the film. Animation is not everybody’s cup of tea.

Is the film relevant today?
Brilliance such as A Town called Panic is sorely needed in an ocean of mediocre film. If we all strive towards brilliance in life we’d live in an awesome society. The film is also a good laugh!

Rotten Tomatoes Score


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