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Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Malgorzata Foremniak, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Jerzy Gudejko
Director: Mamoru Oshii

In a future world, members of the “then” generation are increasingly becoming addicted to an illegal (and deadly) battle simulation game called Avalon. When Ash, a star player, hears of rumours that a more advanced level of the game exists somewhere, she gives up her loner ways and joins a gang of explorers. Even if she finds the gateway to the next level, will she ever be able to come back to reality? Will she find her destiny or something darker?

This interesting, but very graphic novel prefix, is played straight as a die by the all Polish cast. The movie is designed like a darker version of BLADE RUNNER and the only use of colour emanates from the computer screen and, strangely, red meat (symbolism there). Although the first five minutes are incredibly exciting and, from a special effects angle, very well one, AVALON stays just this side of interesting. The set design is excellent and the ‘operatic’ feel of the score adds to the dreamlike feel of the entire project. This is the first Polish film I can recall seeing, but without needing to be an authority, I doubt there are many other Polish films like this.

AVALON suffers from ‘down periods’ where nothing much happens in this drab world. At first I thought this was boring, but realised that, as I know a few ‘gamers’ these peoples lives revolve around role play and reality to them does sometimes seem mundane. I’m sure this is what the filmmakers were trying to show but to others it’s just padding.

All in all this is a worthy effort and although a bit pretentious and a little too dark for it’s own good, should become a future art house favourite.

Dr Kuma’s verdict: King Arthur’s round fable.

4 out of 6 stars