Review: RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR Is A Brilliantly Artistic Animated Film

© Ruben Brandt LLC. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Ruben Brandt, Collector is a new adult animated thriller written and directed by Milorad Kristic. It tells the story of a psychotherapist who, plagued with nightmares involving famous works of art, tasks three of his patients that are master thieves with stealing them in the hopes that owning them will cause his terrors to come to an end.

The story of the film is absolutely fascinating. At its core, it is a heist movie, but there are layers upon layers on top of that which add to the depth and complexity of the narrative. At once it is a heist movie, a movie about the art world, and a complex character-driven drama about a man dealing with his own demons. Although this easily could have been too much (especially with a short runtime), it works extremely well.

Perhaps the only significant issue with the film is that its character development is somewhat lackluster. The complex plot means that there isn’t a whole lot of time left to flesh out the characters. There is enough development for us to care what happens to them, but the supporting characters are relatively underwhelming. The protagonist, Ruben Brandt, is the only character whose arc is really compelling and developed.

ruben brandt painting
© Ruben Brandt LLC. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

The most impressive parts of this movie all involve the execution and technical aspects. The animation style is absolutely beautiful. The film has a dark and gritty feel, but is also quite surreal. This dichotomy is extremely interesting and aesthetically appealing. Furthermore, this goes a long way in developing the psychological themes that govern the story.

The use of art in the movie is also quite impressive. The way in which different paintings are incorporated and adapted into the film is sure to make art fans go wild. Some of the horror scenes involving characters pulled straight from famous art are truly awe-inspiring. Additionally, the mix of different eras of art can be seen in the original animation, which is quite unique and enjoyable to watch.

ruben brandt boat
© Ruben Brandt LLC. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

All of the voice actors do a very good job in their roles. Even though the animation is certainly the star of the show, the movie does allow the actors some time to flex their muscles and add emotion into the film. The actor that voiced Ruben Brandt, Iván Kamarás, does a great job throughout but stands out particularly in the nightmare scenes.

The editing and use of music in the movie is also quite strong. There is a sequence early in the film that introduces us to the character Mimi. It is an extended chase sequence through the streets of Paris, and it is one of the most impressive chases to make its way onto the screen in a very long time. It is thoroughly enjoyable to watch and a big part of this is the energetic way in which it was cut and the music to which it was set.

Overall, Ruben Brandt, Collector was a truly impressive animated movie. Although it isn’t adult animation in the typical sense, it handles some mature topics and is very artistic in a way that is designed for older audiences.

Ruben Brandt, Collector is now playing in theaters and expands March 15.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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