The Eagleman Stag (2011)

How do you condense a lifetime into 9 minutes? By presenting it in an eerie white that transcends time and space.

The Eagleman Stag is about one man’s obsession over changing perceptions of time. For a young boy of only four or five, minutes can make a much weightier impression than they might for an 80 year old man. Interested in taxonomy, our central character finds a beetle that may hold the answers to the questions he has been searching for.

In a blanched world where the lines of writing and drawings are embossed on to the page and grass grows like scraps of paper, piles of memories are explored in an original and believable way. We begin with a fetus in the womb, which tells us “yes, this seems about right”. And what follows are magnified snapshots of childhood, small details that resonate in an older mind. It’s all about looking back in this film, at the moments you wish you had appreciated more, but which you never could because you didn’t know what they meant at the time. We can all relate to this pain, no matter what age we might be. A child turning in to their adolescence might reminisce over their blissful primary school days, just as an elderly man might look over his years and ponder “what did it all mean?”

Ironically, the minutes fly by whilst watching this, and it feels less like 9 minutes and more like seconds as you’re drawn into a sped up world of fleeting images. Gorgeously animated with an intense detail that works to emphasize the messages of the film, The Eagleman Stag is a brilliant tribute to the confusing and unforgiving nature of life and time.

FINAL VERDICT: ★★★★

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