Film Review: Idiots and Angels

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Veteran animator Bill Plympton ventures into David Lynch territory with "Idiots and Angels," a darkly humorous and decidedly adult fractured fable about a lout who's unable to rid himself of the angel wings sprouting suddenly on his back.

Clocking in at an ambitiously wordless 78 minutes, the feature correspondingly is not as amusingly succinct as Plympton's engaging short films -- like "Hot Dog," the third effort in his acclaimed "Dog" series, which preceded the screening of "Idiots" at the 2008 AFI Fest -- but neither does it skimp on trademark Plymptonian touches.

Completely hand-drawn -- though, for the first time, he turned to computers to handle the coloring -- the film also takes visual cues from Hopper (Edward, not Dennis) with its rendering of noir-drenched, seedy bars and their melancholic inhabitants.

But the intermingled flights of fancy are pure Plympton, and, combined with stirringly fluid transitions backed by an effectively offbeat playlist that includes Tom Waits, Pink Martini and frequent contributor Corey Allen Jackson, "Idiots" amounts to inspired poetry in old-school motion.

Venue: AFI Fest
Production: Plymptoons
Director-screenwriter: Bill Plympton
Executive producer: Biljana Labovic
Producer: Bill Plympton
Music: Greg Sextro, Corey Allen Jackson
Editor: Kevin Palmer
No MPAA rating, 78 minutes
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