Princess (2006)

Rating: B+

Dir: Anders Morgenthaler
Star (voice): Thure Lindhardt, Stine Fischer Christensen, Mira Hallund, Tommy Kentner

Adult-oriented animation has a bit of a bad rap: I blame anime, which tends to think that “for mature audiences” inevitably means tentacles violating questionably-pubescent victims. There are some honourable exceptions, such as Perfect Blue, and this Danish animated feature is probably the best such entry in the genre since that, playing like a strange cross between Monsters, Inc. and Leon. It delivers a remarkable amount of creep, and probably only could have been done in the medium, containing as it does, some scenes which would probably have been unfilmable in live-action.

After returning from an overseas mission, August (Lindhardt) takes custody of Mia (Hallund), the young daughter of his late sister Christina (Christensen).  The latter was a famous porn star, and her lifestyle has not left Mia unscarred. When he discovers the extent of this, he contacts her film company, Paradise Lust, and demands they destroy all the material featuring his dead sister. Their reaction is the one you’d expected: August simply decides he’s going to enforce compliance, and goes after the elusive “Charlie”, whom he holds responsible for Christina’s death and Mia’s corruption. Dammit, this is difficult to watch, and will make you squirm in any number of ways, with its matter-of-fact depiction of the sordid underbelly of porn.

Morgenthaler uses both animation and live-action footage; the latter for flashbacks sequences which depict his life sharing a flat with Christina, and their parents’ death in a car-crash. It’s all very effective, and you can only watch aghast as Mia… No, let’s not go into details. Let’s just say, August’s roaring rampage of revenge – accompanied by his foster-daughter – is entirely justified, even as his sanity begins to implode, shown by August seeing Mia’s plush rabbit come to life. There are other moments which are near-perfect, such as her sitting and eating cereal directly from the box. Perhaps the only false note is that he’s supposed to be a priest, yet repeatedly appears to possess skills more in line with Chuck Norris. However, the rest is excellent, and if your heart doesn’t melt at the end, you’re made of tougher stuff than I.