To my mind, Felix Colgrave’s Double King is essentially a perfect film. A fable about greed for greed’s sake, it’s hard to watch it and not be impressed by the generosity of detail that’s gone into every scene. It’s impressive enough as a piece of design–the pastel palettes and ornate geometries of the backgrounds would hold their own as illustrations, even without the characters. There’s times where watching the King stalk through his world feels like a psychedelic spin on Richard Williams’ The Thief and the Cobbler; less detailed, maybe less ambitious, but hypnotic in its own right.

It’s Colgrave’s understanding of pacing, though, of the balance between repetition and forward movement, and especially of finely tuned character moments that elevate it to an instant classic. The narrowing of the King’s pupils when a crab makes off with his crown, the fly king shifting his head at the dinner table in the land of the dead–Colgrave throws these moments in like punctuation, bits of breath before dragging the viewers on.

There’s so much more to love, from the perfectly calibrated sound design to the freewheeling approach to tone. It’s been over a year since Cosgrave released it, and it still feels surprising every time I watch it. Hopefully you dig it, too.

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