Review of "Poupelle of Chimney Town": in search of rejection

The anime function “Chimney Town Poupelle”, Yusuke Hirota’s directorial debut, is set in a metropolis where the sky is always dark from...


The anime function “Chimney Town Poupelle”, Yusuke Hirota’s directorial debut, is set in a metropolis where the sky is always dark from the smoke. Residents are watched over by masked officials called inquisitors, who make it their business to quell dissidents, especially civilians who propose that there could be a world beyond the nearby ocean or the erased firmament.

In this dystopia, animated in a way that suggests a Chutes and Ladders steampunk, Lubicchi (voiced by Antonio Raul Corbo), a lonely boy who works as a chimney sweep, makes his first friend: a garbage collector – i.e. a creature made out of the garbage – which he names Poupelle (Tony Hale). (The name is similar to “poubelle,” which is French for trash.) Poupelle’s origins are murky, but in a pre-title streak it appears to happen from the stars, where Lubicchi’s father (Stephen Root), who has gone, still urged his son to watch.

Adapted by Akihiro Nishino from his picture book of the same name, the story evokes familiar touchstones: “The Wizard of Oz” (in Poupelle’s scarecrow headgear and the climaxing display of a hot air balloon); “ET” (boy-alien friendship); and “WALL-E” (the aesthetics of the landfill). The allegory is semi-coherent but intriguing. Indeed, this film asks what would happen if the existence of a self-devalued currency prompted radical libertarians to create Big Brother to protect people from a central bank.

Trying to read the movie – while admiring its palette and quirky details (Lubicchi has a weird vampire overbit) – keeps “Poupelle” fun for a while. But the film ultimately shies away from its most disturbing ideas and falls back on a heartwarming sentimentality.

Chimney Town Doll
Classified PG. Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes. In theaters.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Review of "Poupelle of Chimney Town": in search of rejection
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