Directed by Marcal Fores
Written by Enric Pardo and Marcal Fores
Is that thing real, or is that kid just crazy? Thats what you’ll be asking yourself during the first half of this movie. We follow Pol, a handsome young high school student in Spain. Pol carries on a friendship in private with a small living (and apparently breathing) teddy bear named Deerhoof. The two play in a rock band together and discuss conflicts with each other. When Pol meets and falls for Ikari, the new mysterious boy in school, things start to take a dark turn as Pol has to either embrace or reject the influence of his new lover.
The scenes with Pol and Deerhoof are really quite effective and polarizing. On the one hand Deerhoof acts as a coping mechanism for Pol, keeping him company and showing him affection when he needs it. On the other hand the film and Pol’s brother by extension asks the audience to question Deerhoof’s existence. If Deerhoof isn’t real and is simply a product of Pol’s psychological disturbance then he’s really more harmful to Pol than helpful. Pol clearly cares deeply for Deerhoof, frantically sewing him back together after an early attack by a wild dog. This makes it all the more hard when Deerhoof is abandoned from the story temporarily. When the focus is put on the mystery of Ikari the film shifts down a gear with very little pay off. The secondary story of the two’s burgeoning romance doesn’t have a lot of substance to it and worse, doesn’t really go anywhere.
There’s also a subplot about Pol’s best friend Laia, but that also doesn’t go anywhere. The fundamental problems stem from the writing more than any of the performances. Oriol Pla stands out as Pol because the film gives him the venue to show his range. The remaining cast are more interests than personalities. Animals come out as a lukewarm Spanish drama with hints of pocketed potential sewn into its story.
Taegan J. Brown
Toronto Inside Out takes place from May 23 – June 2nd. Visit the official website for additional information.