Dino is a black cat leading a double life. During the day, he is the placid domestic pet of a little girl named Zoe, but at night he scales the rooftops with acrobatic burglar Nico as he conducts various daring robberies. Meanwhile, Zoe’s mother – the chief of police – is closing in on notorious gangster Costa, who also happens to be the man who murdered her husband.
It would be easy to describe animated French piece A Cat in Paris as ‘charming’, but it is a label the film more than earns. From the whimsical story concept to the hand-drawn aesthetic of the illustration, this is instantly endearing. The artistry may be deliberately crude, but it is deceptively clever, with the animated foibles of the feline lead character no doubt being extremely familiar to any cat owner.
At a running time of barely over an hour, the film does not outstay its welcome, but it does manage to pack quite a lot in and ticks along rapidly, right up to the climactic rooftop chase to the spires of Notre Dame. The plot is simple enough for children, but has some deeper, more adult concepts – most notably around the mother haunted by traumatic visions of the man who killed her husband…an event that has also left Zoe unwilling to speak. These aspects, combined with some menace from the villains may make this unsuitable for very young children, but otherwise it is a film that certainly earns the “all ages” label.
If there is a flaw in A Cat in Paris, it is that it all feels somewhat lightweight. It is never laugh-out-loud funny, nor tearjerking. It remains an enjoyable and warming watch, but rarely scales any great heights.
If you’re looking for a family film that is a little more offbeat, or even if you just want something heartwarming, A Cat in Paris is just the ticket. Sweet without being saccharine and with enough edge and danger to entertain, this is an animated treat.
The Madman Entertainment DVD of A Cat in Paris includes the theatrical trailer and both French (with English subtitles) and English language versions of the film. But the main extra feature is a short Behind The Scenes featurette. This focuses mainly on the French voice cast, with disappointingly little attention given to the animation and visuals of the movie.
A Cat in Paris is available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.