By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

From the moment I experienced the opening sequence of this animated movie, I knew that I was about to enjoy something very special. From the gorgeous animation and action sequences to the humor and the utter strangeness of it all, I never realized how gorgeous and remarkable works of art could be employed in such a way. The way Disney, Pixar, and Lego (among others) use pop culture icons and images to make entertaining movies, writer/director Milorad Krstic uses works of fine art to make his movie and entertain he does. Ruben Brandt, Collector is a fun, exciting and visually gorgeous film that exceptionally a milieu of respected and admired paintings and sculptures to tell a story steeped in popular cinema.

The titual character Ruben works as a psychotherapist who encourages his patients to express their feelings through art. Brandt is only human, of course, and has some troubles of his own. An avid fan of fine art, Ruben often finds himself tormented by both dreams and hallucinations involving classic works of art. In hopes of purging what ails him, he and a group of his clients begin stealing these expensive pieces from various museums. As Brandt and his team plan and undertake these various heists, a cinephile detective named Mike Kowalski (Csaba “Kor” Márton) is on the case and determined to catch them.

Though the premise does sound strange, it is not a huge stretch from the feelings that drive any kind of collector. Sure, one would think a psychiatrist would no better, but as I previously noted he is as human character after all. This character development choice by Milorad Krstic is part of what makes this movie so relatable and accessible. One doesn’t actually have to be a huge fan of art to appreciate this film, though. It does help, as it adds to the humor if the experience, but Krstic has plenty of other elements to enjoy as well.

Fans of heist movies, action flicks and cinephiles are sure enjoy the more adventurous aspects. The heist sequences are amusing. The action sequences exhilarate. In addition to the multiple art references in the movie, the director includes several movie references which definitely appealed to this film critic here. The voicework by the cast is great also with not a weak link in the bunch.

As for art fans, I can easily see this film as being polarizing. I can honestly see art snobs scoffing and sneering how their beloved works of art are being degraded by their use in a movie. I honestly and obviously don’t feel this way. Milorad Krstic has simply taken other art media and used them in some highly imaginative ways. Then again, this is coming from a cinephile and not an art fanatic.

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