In Paris in 2054, a cop named Karas (voiced by James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, who sounds so uninterested you worry his was a one-take taping) is investigating the disappearance of a woman named Ilona (Romola Garai), a scientist involved in genetic research at a pharmaceutical company called Avalon, which is run by the cacklingly sinister Dellenbach (Jonathan Pryce). Seems Ilona was working on a formula to cure the premature aging disorder known as progeria, and her sister Bislane (Catherine McCormack) may likewise be involved. But of course, there's more to the story—something having to do with immortality, which comes in handy when you're watching a movie that seems to go on forever. You have never seen anything like Christian Volckman's film, which spent some six years cooking in the lab before being unleashed on European audiences earlier this year. Volckman, in his attempts to make a big-screen comic book sans recognizable faces, has stripped down and amped up the procedure: His set-in-the-future sci-fi police procedural is entirely monochromatic, all black and white, save for a brief burst of color that comes on like a Technicolor hurricane just when you need some relief from the bland pizzazz. It's film noir, with too much noir for its own good. ROBERT WILONSKY
Too noir for its own good, Renaissance sketches a world in black and white.