Ultra Vires


Ryan’s Movie Corner

The Finale

I am writing this edition of Ryan’s Movie Corner with a heavy heart. This is my final semester of law school—meaning that I will officially be giving up my dreams of being a film columnist and resigning myself to a life of citations and limitations periods. 

With the 2022 Academy Awards around the corner (at the time of writing), I thought I would give readers my take on the best film to be featured at this year’s Oscars. Without a doubt, my absolute favorite film to receive an Oscar nomination this year is Flee—a harrowing, animated depiction of life as a refugee. 

Before discussing this phenomenal film, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has read these columns and wish everyone success in the coming exam season and beyond.

Flee (Jonas Poher Rasmussen)

Flee is an incredibly memorable and creative film that delivers serious emotional impact through the medium of animation. The film centers on the real experience of Amin, a refugee who fled conflict in Afghanistan and attained asylum in Denmark. The film is an animated account of his experience as a refugee and the many challenges, traumas, and difficulties that Amin and his family face on their way to safety.

Though the film’s storytelling is excellent, that is not what makes Flee special. The film is narrated in an extremely engaging manner, but it is the film’s expressive animation style that truly makes it stand out. The film has a semi-realistic, “base” animation style that it uses to recount the bulk of the story but will often turn to other, more abstract forms of animation to convey heightened moments of emotionality. As a story about the plight of vulnerable refugees, Flee deals with very disturbing subject matter. The film’s animation and art style serve to both mediate, and heighten, the depiction of this subject matter. When Amin recounts moments of intense trauma, for example, the film reverts to brushstrokes of black and white which convey as much, if not more, emotion than Amin’s verbal account.

The film’s most effective commentary comes in its depiction of the bittersweet nature of Amin’s relatively safe and comfortable life in Denmark. Amin has a successful career and a stable relationship, but his experience as a refugee has left an indelible imprint on himself and his relationships. By depicting both the immediate and long term effects of Amin’s experience as a refugee, Flee provides viewers with an urgent reminder of conflict’s human toll and the many obstacles that continue to prevent those fleeing conflicts from reaching safety and security. To convey such pressing and important messages through animation is a truly impressive feat—one that deserves everyone’s attention.


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