Art is the cause and remedy of all mental insanity. Ruben Brandt, Collector (animated film) is a psychological crime thriller that is an ensemble of art and psychology. In very simple words, it’s a labyrinth inside a psychologist’s, mind filled with art. Where on one end he is trying to cherish the art, the art itself is making him go insane.
Ruben Brandt, Collector (animated film) is the first feature of the Slovenian-born director, Milorad Krstić. In a computer-generated world of clarity and crispness, he has integrated a maze that is bewitching and tempting. However, the engaging narrative entangles you, if you aren’t paying close attention.
The story follows a psycho-therapist, Ruben Brandt who is attacked by the characters of the famous paintings he loves. Under the spell of a threat, Ruben hasn’t slept for days and is struggling to find a cure to his own sanity. Living on his own island, Ruben runs art therapy sessions for people who are suffering from different kinds of phobias. He instructs them to transfer their cravings into art, be it painting, sculpting, or something similar.
“Art is the key to the troubles of the mind.”
At his workshop, a woman, Mimi suffering from kleptomania arrives seeking help. Mimi is a professional acrobat and stealing isn’t a big deal for her, but she wants to put an end to her obsession. When Mimi gets to know about Ruben’s nightmare, she advises him, “Possess your problems to conquer them.” In short, Mimi ensembles a team from Ruben’s sanctuary to steal all the famous paintings that haunt Ruben. Together, they are called collectors.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Palette of Moving Paintings
Pause the frame at any moment and what you will experience is a painting in itself. That’s the visual brilliance of Ruben Brandt, Collector (animated film). With some incredibly engaging action sequences and intriguing dialogues, the film captivates your attention till the end. There are a plethora of film and art references hidden inside the film. If you are a collector yourself, you might be able to pinpoint many. Don’t miss the hidden references of Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin. Milorad Krstić has paid homage to each and all through his wonderful visual masterpiece.
Ruben Brandt, Collector Ending
The film doesn’t depict the real world. The characters are not at all human. Some have two heads, some have many eyes, and everything looks like a painting. The film begins with a character of the painting attacking Ruben Brandt and it ends with Ruben, finally at peace and able to sleep.
In the opening sequence, Ruben is seen reading a book,” Deep Sleep” and while in the end, after stealing all the paintings, he is seen reading, “enjoying art.” The opening and ending sequence tally, along with the visuals of the snail which symbolizes a spiral labyrinth. It could be perceived that Ruben Brandt was stuck in his own psychological labyrinth in the beginning but when he wakes up, he has conquered his obsession. Like Mimi advised him, “Possess your problems to conquer them.”
In simpler words, the whole film happens inside a dream where all the characters are just the imagination of Ruben Brandt. A detective named Mike Kowalski who has been chasing Mimi from the beginning looks like a spitting image of Ruben himself. Through Mike’s investigation, we come across a detail that Ruben’s father wanted him to become a great artist and that is why he trapped his childhood in a room and made him watch the famous paintings of the world. A childhood trauma that leads to mental insanity and symptoms of Schizophrenia. As a kid, Ruben wanted to go out and play with snails, an image he keeps seeing in his dream world. It also depicts that the whole world is created by Ruben in his mind and the character of Mike Kowalski is Ruben himself. Kowalski is Ruben’s subconscious, where he is playing both the protagonist and the antagonist. Throughout the film, Ruben wears two ties, and two different colours of the shoe, which symbolises the split in his personality. At the end itself, Ruben sees a reflection of Mike in the mirror of the train coach, which finally merges with his own reflection.
Thus, the entire thing is a dream. A man trying to find his sanity. In the end, he overcomes his past and becomes a bigger man.
For anyone fan of mind-blender films, Ruben Brandt, Collector (animated film) should be a priority on their list. An engaging psycho-thriller with eye-popping animation, it is the perfect film for a Curious Cinephile. However, don’t expect it to take you on a ride of emotions, the film is more for brainstorming and chuckles.
Ruben Brandt, Collector (animated film) is streaming on Netflix.
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