Away is a silent Latvian animation written, directed, animated and scored by Gints Zilbalodis. It tells the story of a boy who wakes up on an island with nothing but a bird for company, a motorcycle as a means of escape and a large, towering monster who looms over him watching his every move. The boy sees no other option but to try and fix his motorcycle and get as far away from the monster as he possibly can. Although obstacles along the way ensure that his journey will not be a simple one.
Beautifully animated with a wonderful score, Away is a charming animation that takes its audience away to a fantasy world with humungous monsters that constantly pursue the island’s inhabitants. For those who are fans of video games, Away may also seem rather familiar as it evokes a visual style of games such as Rime and a similar thematic style to Shadow of The Colossus.
However, although at times Away does manage to create great visual spectacle, in terms of story there isn’t really enough there to make it feel like a profound piece of work as the boy struggles to escape.
Filled with metaphors, Away is not so subtle as it shows the obstacles that the boy overcomes in order to escape the monster. This leads to times where watching the boy struggling up a treacherous mountain and watching a turtle fall on his back, struggling to get upright is a little too straightforward.
Although these metaphors will resonate more universally with an international audience, it does feel that perhaps Away could have spent a little more time adding a bit more variety, rather than just following the boy as he travels across the island and reminding the audience of his incredible struggle.
Also, Away’s chapters will again remind audiences of a video game, with each section having the boy met with an obstacle or showing an incredible set piece which further enforces the idea that perhaps Away would have been better in this medium.
An incredible accomplishment in animation, storytelling, music and sound design, Away is beautiful to watch, but with a bit more development would be a more fulfilling experience.
AWAY is available to pre-order now from Apple TV and iTunes. It can be purchased from Sky Store, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Rakuten and Sony from January 18th, as well as Curzon Home Cinema from 25th January.
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