Ryan (2004)

“A life can be spent, really, trying to get that moment back.”

Today’s film is truly a magnificent twist on a very simple concept. Director Chris Landreth’s Academy Award winning animated short, Ryan, takes a simple interview with a deteriorating artist, and turns that interview into a profound work of art in its own right.

At it’s most basic level, the film is simply a conversation between two artists, one, Landreth, near the beginning of his career, and one, groundbreaking animator, and 1968 Academy Award nominee Ryan Larkin, near the end. However, the film uses CGI animation to radically transform the mundane and create a new way of looking at a conversation.

The film’s presents a world where psychological damage manifests itself as physical injury and deformation. Landreth depicts himself as being somewhat damaged, but Ryan, after years battling alcoholism, drug addiction, and the pain of being a brilliant but unappreciated artist, is barely even there any more. At one point in the conversation Ryan gets so angry, that he literally starts to fall apart.

As a short it doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on any one subject, but instead moves along at a brisk clip, discussing Ryan’s background, the love of his life, his work, and his downfall.

The film combines both a touching story and a truly innovative visual style, and it does so remarkably well. At the end of the film’s 15 minute run, I found myself greatly wanting to watch more. The Academy definitely got it right with this one; Ryan is a must see.

[Ryan (2004) – Directed by Chris Landreth – Not Rated]

OM|ED Rating: Must SeeWinter Shorts series